we all have our rituals, most especially if you are like me who was labeled (by someone very observant, obviously) a "creature of habit". we have a process, a series of predetermined tasks that needs to be done in a particular order, else god forbid, our world of order comes crashing down faster that you can say "donuts in the fridge!".
i woke up ridiculously early this morning to go for a morning jog in the park. ridiculous since i slept near 1am that morning, not because i was having trouble sleeping but rather, i was on the phone with a client, WORKING! ugh... freelancing can be hard work sometimes. anyhuu, not really thinking straight anymore, it never really bothered me that i lacked sleep. in my mind it was already decided, i will run. not even a presidential inauguration would deter me :) true enuf, i woke up even before my alarm went off, psyched!
i left home at around 530 and got to the park quarter to 6am. gosh... it really has been a while since i have been to luneta this early. it certainly brought back a lot of memories.
my family, my uncles in particular, were jogging buffs. i recall when i was but a little fat gay boy (hahahaha!) that they would often drag me along to jog with them. fearing for my life that they would cause me bodily harm if i refused, i of course tagged along. unfortunately, despite their most earnest of encouragements, i really could not keep up with them. for one thing, i was well rather rotund back then. whale blubber really isn't the best of running accessories if you know what i mean. i also haven't really gone through my growth spurt either. shorter legs meant shorter strides, too short to keep up with locomotive uncles who really couldn't wait. then there was also the "i don't have any stamina" issue. not even barely around the block and my sides would cramp up, i loose breath and there was even one point that i really almost blacked out, er, REALLY!
of course, that was quite a long time ago. so long that it felt like we were running alongside dinosaurs still.
being in luneta felt like entering in shaider's (ang pulis pangkalawakan... man, the fact that i recall this means i really am old) time space warp. besides that eyesore of an ocean park looming behind the grandstand, luneta barely changed. its the same old, crumbling structures. same old, cracking paved floors. same old weed infested grass fields. same old, well, OLD luneta. it looked old, smelled old, felt old. don't get me wrong though, i really have nothing against it being such. i am a sentimental schmuck after all. old can be quite charming :)
running around the perimeter and you behold the familiar sights and sounds of luneta in the morning. there's the chinese "mafia" doing their tai chi and qui gong. you hear them actually first before you see them, their chinese opera music blaring out of portable stereos. there's the ang-kongs and a-mas walking around with there caregivers, trying to get a waft of fresh air, hoping to improve their chi. there's the aerobics troupe in the distance, congregating under the trees, with their flamboyant instructor. you see them move in unison, like mindless subjects hypnotized to the tune of very outdated disco music. and finally, there are the joggers. like asteroids, they go in revolutions around the park. some run fast, some run slow, some walk and pretend that they are actually jogging. the joggers obviously come in all shapes, sizes and skill levels.
this morning's jog, i found myself in the company of men. LOTS of men... DROVES of them. the PNP was having some sort of fitness activity today and hundreds of them in short shorts and tight shirts were scattered all over the place. i almost found myself slowly smiling as there were definitely a few who caught my attention and vice versa (and after some flirtatious undue stretching and flexing). but again... i had to slap myself back to FOCUS. train now, "breakfast" later :)
the run today was a bit more strenuous than i had expected. either my lack of sleep is causing it or i'm just really not used to running in the morning. when i ran with mark last sunday, i believe my body was already warm from the days activity. since i also work out in the evenings, i think my body is conditioned to exert more effort later in the day than in the morning. i think i would need to condition my body as well to morning activities.
i did one round again as my warm up run. i already felt out winded after that, though my feet did not feel as awkward anymore. my stride is starting to feel regular and i didn't notice "the gazelle" showing except when i'm managing curbs. round 2 was equally strenuous with me starting to feel my pretibials starting to sore. round 3, i found my that i was starting to loose my rhythm. good thing i saw 2 marathon runners zip me by. i used them as visual end points and tried to follow their pace. needless to say, my efforts were not enuf since they seem to get farther and farther away from me by the minute. o well, i shall prevail eventually.
by round 4, i decided i had enough for today. my shirt was wet and heavy with sweat and my shorts were starting to give me wedgie. i cooled down by walking around the park again, taking my time to closely inspect the "icons" of my past once more. i remembered my lolo. my uncles. the breakfast we would have after running. i recall seeing the sun rise. the sky changing colors. the trees. the tall fences. there are still lots to see and remember in luneta, but i have to go now. it started to rain and i still needed to get home to work.
another day, another time.
as i drove off, i took a look back again and said to myself.... syet... cute talaga ni mamang pulis! there. breakfast. bwahahahaha!