I joined the National Geographic Channel’s 21-km run yesterday and clocked my PW (Personal Worst). Unofficial time = 3:46, haha! But I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, I feel great.
Imagine, these almost 50-year old legs crossed the finish line without any pain or cramping. Ordinary you say? Well, how about if I tell you that the last run I had was 62 days ago? Yes, I ran The Bull Runner Marathon on February 22 and then after that, NEVER laced my shoes again until yesterday.
And then about ten hours after that, I had to attend a formal dinner and had to wear heels. No problem.
I think the magic is good for one run only. Diligence, I need you…..
I planned to get my kit during the marathon send off dinner last Wednesday. But while hubby and I were on our way there, a bus hit us on the left.
Race kit redemption postponed.
This afternoon, as I was on my way to claim it at The Athlete’s Foot at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC), I car hit me from the back!
I had to go to the police station again and thought I’d probably just get my kit on race day. Good thing hubby came (my knight in shining armor) and took care of things. After 15 minutes, no more problem.
Off we went to get my kit!
S&R was just across the street so we felt like it was calling our names and whispering, “Come…have…a pizza…you deserve it…”
3 years ago- I ran my first full marathon (See summary of my first year here).
2 years ago- I wanted some variety so I shifted to Filipino Martial Arts. I did very little running.
6 months ago- Hubby, conniving with our good friend JN and my sisters, Jehan and Sandi, registered me to The Bull Runner Dream Marathon (TBRDM) 2015. At first, I protested saying that I’m done with that marathon (which is, in case you don’t know, the first and only marathon in the world that caters exclusively to first- and second-time marathon runners.)
But a few days after that, I changed my mind and excitedly confirmed my registration by personally paying the fee.
After paying the fee, I trained…not.
4 months ago- hubby convinced me to join a running group coached by champion triathlete Jojo Macalintal (fondly called Jomac). He analyzed my form and technique and I learned that I had to change a lot of things “Coach, I’ve been running the wrong way all these years!” I said. “Well, it’s not really wrong, it’s just not efficient,” he answered. Oh my coach, always mild-mannered and encouraging.
Anyway, since my running was very inefficient, I was embarrassed to tell him that I registered for a marathon. I kept it a secret until..
1-1/2 months ago – I told hubby that I was backing out from the marathon because I felt that I was just beginning to learn how to run well. He sort of said “Okay, if that’s your decision”.
The next day he told coach. Instead of my expected “I-can’t believe-you-had-the-gall-to-think-you-can-run-a-marathon” reaction, coach shook his head and said “Sayang naman. Maganda ang TBR. Kaya mo naman tapusin yun. Enjoy mo lang.” “Ahh, okay,” I nodded slowly, not really convinced.
Anyway, from that time on, he gave me a specialized training plan (actually, a cram plan) which I tried to follow diligently.
2 weeks ago- I ran my first organized run in 2 years. Before that I said that that 21-km run would be the gauge if I’ll push through with the marathon. And much to my surprise, I finished, not fast, but strong and happy :). Read the story here.
And so today, Monday, at 9 AM I said, “That’s it, done with the last training drills before the marathon!”
Three days before the Condura Skyway Marathon (CSM), I was doing some early evening grocery shopping when I got a text message from my sister Sandi telling me that she got me a race kit for the 21 km in Condura! “HUWATT???” I screamed by text. “I’M NOT PREPARED! MY LONGEST RUN SO FAR WAS 16KM! YESTERDAY!”
“You can do it. Just consider it a regular long run,” came the cool response.
I didn’t know what to say… I was excited and scared at the same time….
I don’t know what came over me because in a second, I said, “I better go home now and sleep!” I pushed my grocery cart faster because I wanted to sleep early so I can cram an early run the next day!
But the next day I felt that my legs have not fully recovered from my 16km run so I just walked for an hour or so.
“Que sera sera. What will be will be.” If I couldn’t finish the run then so be it. I was not too excited about it.
A few hours before the run
Sandi, and our good friend from Cebu, Rex, and I, decided to go early to Jehan’s house because it was near the race venue. On the table was a buffet of boiled camote and saba, whole wheat herb bread and butter, crispy pretzels, black rice, and chicken tinola. We also had had hot chocolate and milk. I had a bit of everything and then tried to sleep.
The three of them were to run 42km and their gunstart was midnight. So at 10:30, we all started preparing.
I don’t know why we took so long but we were able to leave the house at 11:30! The starting line was probably just about 5kms away from the house but oh my, traffic was heavy as we were approaching the Las Pinas-Zapote road! There was a lone traffic policeman trying his best but the traffic was simple very slow. Three lanes were occupied by those going towards Zapote and that left only a single lane for us going to Filinvest. Jehan was driving and Sandi was getting a bit agitated.
“Han, bilisan mo!”
Jehan: Don’t worry there’s plenty of time…
Sandi: What if we just go down here and run to the starting line? We can let Indaydrive. (Inday is my Ilonggo name.)
Me: Nooooo, I CAN”T DRIVE MANUAL!
Anyway, what happened was when we moved a bit, Jehan turned left on a ‘no-left turn” road and so we made it to the parking lot near McDonalds within minutes. The three of them went down and ran. I followed with my camera.
What I noticed first was there were lots of portalets. Rows of them and I tried one. Wow, are these portalets bigger than usual or did I just lose weight? Nice thought. 🙂
After watching a few waves released, I went back to the car and slept. I had over three hours before our 3:30 AM gunstart.
I slept soundly and at 2 AM, I woke up, went to McDonald’s and got a cup of steaming brewed coffee (I needed that) and a cheeseburger (I didn’t need that).
Anyway, because of that meal I was late for my wave ( C ) so I just stayed with wave H.
Anthony Suntay was the emcee and I liked him because he didn’t do those “trying hard to be cute and lovable” spiels. I guess it’s because of the grim situation we were remembering. For each wave, I listened as he gave the announcements and instructions:
699 race officials… 13 ambulances… 25 hydration stations…buddy system…If you need help… and,
“There will be 44 policemen each holding a photo of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) trooper who died. When you see them, please give a long salute.
When they released my wave, I ran, and before I knew it there was that SAF line to the left of the runners.
I continued running but saluted and looked at the line from my lateral vision. OH MY! It seemed to take forever! The line was long! Way too looooooong! Forty four is a lot! Too many died!
Yes, many police and military men die in action but this case was different because there were just too many questions left unanswered. My tears fell and I wished I had tissue to wipe my nose. I realized that many policemen are underrated and under-appreciated. I vowed to change my attitude about them.
Anyway, it was a great run. The skyway gives you a unique high. I was glad that it was well lit as my night vision is poor. I grinned to myself when we passed the toll gates. Wow, this is something you can’t do the rest of the year! Savor the moment!
Hydration stations were long and there were enough ice-cold Summit water and Gatorade for everyone. Very good.
The air was cool and made more so by the soft wind from Laguna Bay. But I still got an ice cold wet sponge when I saw that there were lots and lots of them. I wiped my legs, arms, and face– in that order! Using the same sponge! Hahaha! Yuck.
I did the run-walk interval and felt strong. I thought I had a pebble in my right shoe but after a few kilometers, it was gone. I thought that my ankles and shins hurt but after a kilometer or so, they were fine!
There were only a few distance markers. I suppose that’s because many runners now have those hi-tech gadgets with GPS that measured distance. Well, I didn’t have that so I just relied on the toll gates. Alabang…Sucat…Bicutan…and then the u-turn. Yay! It was still dark. My throat felt dry because of the cold but I didn’t mind at all. I felt strong and upbeat. I remembered phrases Coach Jojo Macalintal always used:
Mind your breathing.
Check your form.
But what really kept me up was the repeated remembrance of Sandi’s battlecry: “Finish Shtrong!” Ok, YOU try saying it without pausing between the words. FINISH STRONG!
See? Sandi has perfect teeth but the first time she yelled it, it sounded as if she had poorly fitting dentures. FINISH SHTRONG! It was so funny! And because of that I felt strong and amused. I ran faster towards the finish and more so when a woman who had more gray hair than I overtook me.
When I crossed the finish line I raised my arms and smiled a big smile. I was happy with my time and even thought that I could have done better if I snaked my way through those walkers who hogged the way.
Great run. Great run!
I got my medal from these Army soldiers increasing my runner’s high further.
Whereas before I was sluggish and wanted very little to do with organized runs, things have turned 180 degrees.
Condura Skyway Marathon 2015: You’re big and meaningful. You stoked me!
What??? It’s November already? Time really flies when you’re having fun.
Well, well, well, I had my first trail run! And it wasn’t just in any trail, it was in Mount Pinatubo, the beautiful but at one time very destructive volcano. Running on volcanic ash and debris kept me alert the whole time and I totally enjoyed it!
I say this because, in road runs, I sometimes struggle with boredom and go on automatic mode putting one foot in front of the other.
It was painful to remember how horrible this lahar was in 1991. Images easily come to mind: Hot lava, ash, rocks and boulders destroying lives, land, and properties.
Twenty-one years after, the desolation is still evident. At least, plants have re-grown in many areas.
Ninety percent of the run was in the river. Towards the end, we had to run single file through tall grass.
Yay! I’m almost 47 years old and I just had my first trail run! I think not a lot of people can say that.
I blinked my eyes, surprised and confused at what I saw. My duty as a medical intern just finished and it was the first time in 24-hours that I went out of the hospital. This was in 1991 and we still didn’t have cellphones, iphones, Twitter or Facebook. Most of us didn’t have cable TV with CNN either. So I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
It was already eight o’clock in the morning yet the sky was dark and everything was covered with a white material I wasn’t familiar with. It was as if we had a snowfall. (Note: The Philippines is a tropical country and we NEVER have snow.)
Then I heard the BAD news: Mount Pinatubo, a volcano fifty miles north of Manila has erupted. That white material was volcanic ash.
Actually, there were volcanic explosions occurring since about two months back and people already started to evacuate.
Maybe it was my youth or my very difficult intern job, but I wasn’t aware about those things.
A giant cloud rose twenty miles in the air and spread a 2-inch layer of ash and sand over a 30-mile radius. The air filled with white ash so thick it reduced visibility to almost zero.
Look at this world-famous photo. I’m happy to say that the photographer lived to show it to us 🙂
To make matters worse, we also had Typhoon Yunya. The volcanic ash mixed with rain and then carried by the wind blanketed Luzon, the Philippine’s biggest region. More than 800 people died and the economic destruction was staggering.
That day, June 15, 1991 became known as Black Saturday.
I’m glad I registered for this race. It’s going to be an extraordinary event I’m sure. For then we will run remembering that painful event in our history. More importantly, we will run appreciating how resilient the Filipinos are:
often hurt, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
and though badly troubled at times, not destroyed.
About two years ago, I fell in love with running. Along with that came a love for buying everything related to it: shorts, shirts, socks, shoes, caps, books, magazines, etc, etc. It was so delicious seeing my collection grow.
Add to that all the free shirts and accessories given by the many races I joined.
Of course, I saw how overflowing my closet quickly became: how I had to push shirts into the drawers because they could hardly fit there anymore and how I had to dump some of them on the floor before I could find something to wear for my morning runs.
I didn’t mind the stress. I was having fun!
Then one ordinary day, I looked at the hodgepodge and told myself:
After a few minutes of sorting, I had tall piles of shirts and shorts. Those that didn’t fit or I didn’t like quickly filled up one large trash bag. They will be given to anyone who wants them or sold in a garage sale sometime soon.
I’m still left with a lot. I’m going through them again within the next few days to see which ones I can still do away with.
Meanwhile, my closet is neater and finding something to wear in the morning is easier.
And in a weird sort of way, now that I have less, I feel more abundant.
Yesterday, I had my first taste of trail biking and I can’t say that I loved it.
Would you love three hours of biking in Timberland Heights‘ muddy, rocky, slippery trail that went up and down forever?
Here’s a recap:
6 AM power breakfast:
8 AM — bike loading time. My bike was placed inside our car ( front wheel dismantled). Hubby’s bike is loaded to his buddy’s car bike rack.
Off to Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal.
After about two hours, we arrived at the Pestano’s House, an al-fresco restaurant in the middle of what felt like no-where.
Hmmm, I have to plan for our midtrail meal next time.
After the meal, there was another hour of biking back to where we started. Thankfully, we passed through an easier path.
Then just about 500 meters before we reached the parking lot, I had a big stumble! There was a big rock and I didn’t know whether to brake or ride through it. I braked and flew forward. OUCH!!! My arms and hands hurt because I tried to break my fall. (Note to self: Study how to fall properly.)
That’s okay. No broken bones.
Finally, I finished! Yay!!
Did I enjoy trail biking? No, not really, haha! I was tense most of the time. Although admittedly, there were brief moments when I felt young and oh soo alive 🙂
Would I do it again? YES! So that bike trail cannot say that it reduced me.
Dear Timberland Bike Trail,
That’s the way you want things huh? I’ll be ready for you next time. In fact, NEXT WEEK!
As I said in my previous posts (click here and here), my runner-hubby has just been diagnosed to be hypertensive.
This morning, he had his first check up with a cardiologist, Dr. N. G. Thankfully, he was very knowledgeable about hypertension in athletes.
Also, he had the cutest dimples. Too bad I was too shy to ask him to pose for my camera. I should have explained that it was for this post. After the check up, I asked hubby if he thought the dimples were cute. He said he didn’t notice. Haha!
Anyway, hubby’s ECG, Stress Test and Laboratory Tests are all within normal except for a slightly elevated Creatinine (See below).
Diligently, hubby came prepared with his five questions:
1. Why did I develop hypertension despite the fact that I exercise regularly?
Genes, age, diet, excess weight, stress.
2. If I have to take medications, will they affect my running?
Hubby, an avid runner and newbie biker has just been diagnosed to be hypertensive, as I told in my previous post.
He already had his laboratory tests. Tomorrow, he’ll see his cardiologist and will be asking the doctor these important questions:
Why did I develop hypertension despite all my running?
Somehow, we already know the answer this.
Although hubby runs regularly and doesn’t smoke nor drink, his age and genetics are against him. He is 49 and the risk for hypertension increases with age. His mother is hypertensive.
The rest is related to his lifestyle. Although he lost more than 15 pounds over the last year, he is still overweight. Why? Because of his diet.
Although he does not always eat like this, look at what he had after his biking session last week:
We should really take this seriously now: Exercise cannot be taken as a passport to eating anything and everything you want.
2. Can I still run? How much exertion is safe? What precautions do I need to take?
Regular exercise will surely help control his hypertension. But how much and how often is safe?
3. If I have to take medications, will they affect my running?
Some medications affect sports performance and some may even dangerous . Some affect the body’s electrolytes. Some slow down the heart rate leading to post-exercise dizziness in some athletes.
4. What should I do about nutrition and hydration?
5. Will I ever be cured of this hypertension, or is this for life?
Many questions that require careful answers.
Are we over-reacting?
I don’t think so.
Hypertension, when uncontrolled ups the chances of heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. We don’t like that.
What we need is a lifestyle makeover.
We want to be able to run for many more years.
We want more of these:
How about you? Are you hypertensive? Have you been checked within the last year?
Most of the available information I found on the web deal with hypertension on people who are sedentary. I found one for those who are already physically active but still have high blood pressure. Although it’s dated 2002, I think it’s still useful. Click here.
For us who are doctors, we can refer to these:
Managing Hypertension in Athletes and Physically Active Patients by the American Association of Family Physicians, 2002. Click here.
Hypertension in Competitive Athletes by American College of Cardiology, 2005. Click here.
Position Statement on Exercise and Hypertension by the Sports Medicine Association, 2011. Click here.
I am a pediatrician and hypertension is not in my line of expertise. Please tell me if there are newer and more appropriate recommendations. Please. Thank you.
That’s what hubby told me this afternoon when I asked him why he looked so depressed sitting alone in the kitchen.
These past few days, he has been having bouts of light-headedness. His blood pressure readings were 140-150 / 90-100, usually in the mornings.
(For adults: Normal BP=120/80. Pre-hypertensive=130/85. Hypertensive=140/90. For a Blood Pressure Chart, click here.)
In denial, hubby said that those readings were probably just flukes.
I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I lost more than 15 pounds over the last year. I run regularly and I’m fitter today compared to several years ago. I had medical clearance and ran a full marathon five months ago.
HOW CAN I HAVE HYPERTENSION NOW?
Daily monitoring, however, just confirmed the sad reality. He is hypertensive.
Despite all his running, hubby cannot change important risk factors like his genes and age. Add to that his work-related stress, the many years of carnivorous-eating and his being overweight. One year of running cannot erase the many years of indulgence.
So, off he will go tomorrow for check up and some tests: