Monday, May 24, 2010

the San Mig Bay Run 2010

i told him 330am. it was a slight overestimate on my part actually. i neglected to remember what was printed in the race kit and simply made a hunch. no biggie really. kuya would always be late anyways, even if he tried to be on time. having told him a slightly earlier time, plus his chronic tardiness would only mean we would get to MOA just in time :)

MOA was humid at 430am. the air was thick and warm and smelt like the sea. i was already starting to get a tad bit worried since i knew dehydration would be a major problem in this weather. cramping should have been the least of my concerns since i also havent had trained at all for this 15K run.

my running regimen leading to this date had been simply running barefoot on the treadmill for about 10 to 15mins or so, definitely no where near 15k. i had been testing out a new way of running this past month since i have read that doing so improves running form and reduces injury. i had been nursing a bad ankle for these past few months, though i really can't say barefoot running had helped it much, i'm still staying hopeful. since my cardio has been reduced to these brief forays into naked running, i upped the ante on my resistance training by doing circuits instead, with minimal weights of course. bulking up was the last thing i wanted. unfortunately, the fine print on circuit training was that it WILL bulk you up, and BULK you up fast. since my endurance had been greatly improved by running, i don't tire as fast doing the circuits. in so doing, i keep adding exercises to an already loaded workout. the result... i gained more muscle and got a tad bit heavier.

bulky, bad ankle and having had no training in a while, i should have expected the worse for this run. i really should have since i could have just ran 10k, but pride made me do 15k instead.

i knew the route well since i used to run Roxas before. i knew the terrain was hard and flat. i knew temperatures were going to be harsh, the heat magnified by the adjacent sea. i knew the air was going to be bad with pollution from the motorists from the highway. it was certainly going to be a challenge, and a incredible challenge it was.

not after the gun start did i already begin to feel the effects of fatigue. my joints were not adjusting to the extra weight i had put and the pain in my ankle did not make this anymore comfortable either. despite the flat ground, running in this humid weather almost felt like trudging through thick soup. breathing was laborious, as if breathing while running a marathon isn't hard enough. i kept telling myself, keep ur form, relax your legs, maintain your pace, this will be over soon. i had only myself to keep me company, to keep me distracted since a clamor to give up had already began in me.

a few minutes more and fatigue had gotten the better of me. my knees buckled and i had to stop to walk. i quickly made my way to a water station to rehydrate. the water was warm. it tasted like iron since by now, my tongue was parched. i could feel my legs beginning to swell as now all blood was rushing to them. i began running again. i could not afford to loose momentum. the first shot of adrenaline now kicked in, the first runner's zone. for a couple of minutes, i felt ok. the pain dissipated and i felt i could really do this. i grabbed hold of this "delusion" as long as i could. my mind had to. the turn towards Roxas and seeing how much farther this race was going to be, however, snatched me away and threw me back to reality.

i was on asphalt now. the heat of the sun made them feel like running on coals. the swarm of eager runners had now dwindled down to a persistent few. the inhospitable conditions had even taken a toll on the lead runners as even they seemed to have slowed down. the kenyan kept his pace but his face showed that he was struggling. Rio, who was following strong a while ago had now fallen back far behind. my muay thai trainer who i spotted earlier at the front of the pack was now walking, too exhausted from the heat as well.

run, walk, run, walk. for a 15k. it was utterly pathetic, i thought to myself. what crushed my ego more was that if this race had a 21K, i wud have joined that instead! THANK GOODNESS there wasn't. i had passed the 10K point. the 15K runners have now merged with the 10K, 5K and 3K mob. the thickness of the swarm needed me to weave in and out amongst ppl who were now walking. i really shouldn't have done that since i wasted energy again doing so, energy i sorely needed. also, the sharp turns i took to avoid smashing into other runners irritated my already compromised ankle. for the duration of the last few kilometers, i was running with the fear that my tendon would give and finally snap from the abuse i have subjected it to.

on the final turn towards the finish, all i could think about was just to finish. i could care less of my time. i could care less about finishing strong. i just wanted to finish. i finally crossed the finishing marker and almost collapsed on the ground. i tried desperately to fill my lungs with large gulps of air and kept pacing. i knew if i stopped moving, i will faint.

my brother finished a few minutes later. his experience was not far from mine.

this race was a test of endurance of another kind. i am glad i still have some to have been able to overcome. HOWEVER, remind me NEVER to run 15K without training, when i'm overweight, and when the weather is cranked up to Saharan levels next time, ok?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


indifference, that's probably what i'm feeling just about now. sheer, plain indifference. in fairness, it feels rather liberating. i have no care, no opinion, no sentiment, no emotional attachment to almost everything happening around me. on these very rare occasions in my life, my head, my mind, my heart, feels like it is peacefully still. nothing's troubling. nothing's worrying. nothing's exciting. nothing. nothing..... haaaaaay.

i'm so BORED!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

a queer workout

i have been trying NOT to sound narcissistic with this post, but i think it cannot be helped. anyway...

so i have become like a mini-celebrity at my very small gym. everyday i come in, the owner greets me with a really cheesy smile and exclaims "the walking human anatomy!", to which, i, naman, have to use every bit of my will power NOT to correct him. "maybe you meant to say, HUMAN ATLAS" i wanted to say. "your statement is a fragment! if you type it on MS Word I'm sure u'll get a squiggly green line!" he's obviously trying to be nice. he's seen me since i started out as a fat blubber ball and has always been generous with compliments. i guess doing so helps if you want to keep ur patrons hooked to working out.

i actually don't mind him greeting me. it's a sign at least that he knows i exist since i only see him engage in chitchat with the body builders who go to my gym. for him to acknowledge my (svelte) presence could be very advantageous... maybe to use in haggling for a discount on my gym membership next time, who knows? :) his greets however, small that my gym is, causes undue attention towards me. not soon after his comment, as i scurry away to the lockers, i could already hear ppl talking and him explaining how it was i had lost so much weight since i began. i guess he has been doing this pretty much since i seem to be developing a discipleship. i have now a few guys who wait on/ for me, curious as to what regimen i was going to do that day.

so what is so curious about my regimen that have seemed to been my rise to notoriety? i guess, it's that my workout, like a lot about me, is kinda QUEER. it's queer in the sense that, it doesn't deal too much with lifting weighs. though most of the guys at my gym aim to get as thick and as bulky as a WWII armored tank, and obsess themselves at getting washboard abs, killer pecs and rippling delts, i have been training to improve on the aspects of fitness you really cannot see if you stand naked in front of the mirror, like balance and stamina. while they scream and grunt as they push and press and pull on iron, i quietly relegate myself to puny 20 pounders and the gym ball. while the guys at my gym strut up and down our mirrored corridors marveling at their glorious girth, i on the other hand take my time to perfect standing still on one leg. cardio is a wimp's workout, i however relish running on the treadmill, lately even barefoot. so now, as these noisy, bulky, show-offy guys begin to plateau and run out of ideas of how else to punish themselves, they end up getting bored and often frustrated. they start skipping days, eventually, not even showing up anymore... leaving me with an empty weight room, spacious enough now to FINALLY be able to do circuit training!!!

i had two of these guys join me once. they originally wanted me to join them do their chest sets, but i told them to join me do my "warm up circuit" first. it was a pretty simple regimen:

7-10 chin ups
10-12 wide push ups
10-12 diamond push ups
10-12 staggered push ups
10-12 dumbbell military presses with 20lbs. DB
10-12 rock climbing leg set
10 box jumps
10 jumping jacks

done all with little or no rests in between, for 3 circuits, resting 3-4 minutes in between circuits. it sounded simple enough. they eagerly obliged, maybe thinking since they lift so heavy, a few push ups certainly wouldn't hurt too much.

i surmised, since we will be doing chest exercises after, it would be good to get them properly warmed up. 30 mins. and 3 circuits later (it usually just takes me 10 mins, but we were 3 guys in a small gym, remember), i was pumped and felt like i could lift a COW! the other 2 though were quiet and whined that they wanted to puke already. we still did their chest workout, though not lifting as heavy anymore. they admitted they LOVED the feeling, they however never joined me do my circuits again. wimps... =D

circuit training may look odd to a lot of ppl. it may look weak and easy, especially if you have gotten used to just doing weights and machines. i however can tell you, it's none of that at all. it challenges you physically and mentally, more than what weight training can offer. fitness is really not just about size or how much u can lift, it should be more holistic and should also include endurance, power and balance. i think this is the way to go. i look at my muay thai trainers (whom i learned the value of these endurance drills from) and look at these muscle mountains at my gym and between them two, i'm sure my trainers can kick the latter's bulky asses any day! circuits make you burn more, and bulk up faster due to the explosive qualities of some of the exercises. resistance training coupled with cardio, YAN ANG TUNAY NA WORKOUT!!! (parang commercial lang)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

my fountain of youth

i often complain to my friends how old i feel. despite how it seems like i don't look (or even act) my age to people, i still am not as convinced. every morning, as i get out of bed, my entire body serves as a reminder that long gone are the days of my youth. joints crack and pop, muscles stay stiff, and getting up feels to be already a loosing battle. couple this with injuries healing and you can only imagine how "wonderful" waking up feels like for me.

the rest of my day doesn't necessarily get any better either.

the grind that i endure six times a week leaves me with little to be excited for. you work because you have to. you work because you have to survive. you work because there's nothing else you can do. you work, because that's what people YOUR age are supposed to do. ending my days, i get home often mentally, emotionally and physically depleted. i feel dulled out, low in fuel and fatigued. i would often take a quick dinner and just throw myself onto my couch and just linger there for a while. my mother would often ask about my day and my answer, almost automatic, would be always in a gesture, so-so.

this is how aging feels like. almost like a slow and gradual decline to where ever. even the thought of the destination feels heavy.

it is during these moments when i would sometimes wish i could gain back my youth, gain back the vigor i once had for living. when i would wish, i could gain back the days when life was simple, when i was simple and my mind was still free from all the complications and concepts and theories that now paralyze me. when i would wish, i could gain back the time wherein, i could have made better choices, made fewer mistakes, had lesser regrets, and not feel so much like the failure i am now...

on these, probably my lowest days, i find myself seeking my mom's embrace. i have always done so, i think, from back when i was little. all i need to do is ask and she drops whatever it is she's doing and gives me one whole-heartedly. though now i have to lean down to loose myself in a weaker hug, her hold, even if she struggles to wrap her arms around me, feels like the same ones that had held me all those many times. it's a cocooning feeling, a safe feeling. it's a feeling as if you were young again, full of life and vigor. it's a pure, genuine feeling, free from complexities and complications and convoluted concepts and stubborn theories. it's a tender, gracious feeling, with no trace of the slightest judgment, but only an overwhelming effulgence of unconditional love.

happy birthday mom. loving you is like breathing. effortless.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

realizations over chicken skin

life, these past few days, seem to be pushing me to be jaded again. two friends, two different stories, both about the same topic, love... and how they lost in the game. both took the gamble. both knew the odds were slightly not in their favor. both hoped for the best, and now... well, both, i hope, are trying their best to move on.

i had almost forgotten how frustrating it feels to be in the same situation. forgive the analogy but, like you had invested in a business that went belly up, is what it feels like. it's a mixture of agitation, self-loathing, self-doubt, and well, everything else nasty. of course for the time being, all this negative-emo-junk is still yet directed to the self. it's the first casualty unfortunately in this very tricky game. once that has been totally obliterated by the merciless auto-cannibalism you inflict, and while your conscience recuperates from the onslaught, whatever remnants still left of this burden is then projected to the "other" party. it sits in the pits of ur stomach, then suddenly surges out like a pyroclastic explosion. yes... bitterness sets in. the residue of self-spite. bile spitting, projectile sarcasm and what-nots, all focused on that one person who (REALLY) was the cause of all this misfortune... that person who tore your heart out and gave it to his ratty-looking chihuahua to eat for breakfast.

oh the rage. oh the intense hatred! there's a malevolent PASSION suddenly to inflict load mounts of indescribable pain! revenge is not really what it is... rather, JUSTICE. there has been an imbalance set in the universe and YOU, my pained, dumped friend, have been divinely tasked to set back the cosmic equilibrium!!!!!

you then simmer in the spite, melting every tough joint and sinew in the slow, long boil. your countenance changes. your energy shifts, and not too long, you find yourself in a downward spiral into a dark and bottomless pit. by this time, the person who hurt you initially would have already found someone else. the person the universe had meant for you had already come and gone. the moments made to complete you had already passed. the sweet climax of a fulfilling and wonderful life had already dissipated... all because you chose to hold on to something small, and truly so, rather insignificant.

maybe because it makes you feel alive.

maybe because pain and misery make you feel relevant.

maybe because, even if it hurts, this feeling is still of that person who could not love you back, and you cannot bare to let that person go.

maybe because you fool yourself to think, there's no more beyond this point.

maybe because, you're really narrow-sighted.

maybe because you really like small and insignificant things...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

lessons in pain

it was her fragility that endeared me to her. her inherent clumsiness, coupled with a delicate frame made her almost like a walking accident-waiting-to-happen. she was adorably cute, she was graciously kind, she was utterly sweet. all those, and maybe more, were the things i saw, i felt, i loved. i tried to be nice to her, tried to care for her, but in the end, despite my earnest and sincere efforts, her heart was for another, and because of it, i experienced my first heartbreak.


it hurt like hell, to be quite honest. i felt rejected. i felt worthless and unworthy. it didn't really matter if i knew i did the right thing, that i respected her space, that i made myself available for her only as a friend, since that was all she wanted from me. when you're in pain, none of that really means anything. all you feel is the rawness of the hurt, and the gasping of a heart suffocating of life-breath. i could not really find any comfort from anyone, since, i guess heartaches, though we all experience it, it uniquely subjective. your situation is custom-made to hurt just for you. people tried though, but it did nothing to salve me. all i could do was sit, quietly, and live through the pain, hoping in the end i would heal, and that good will come out of this.

good, eventually did.

in physiology, they taught us the immense value of pain, how it is essential to our survival. pain is our body's way of telling us that something is wrong. it teaches us to seek help and also teaches us what to avoid in the future. i guess this pertains as well to other types of pain. my first heartache was years ago, and i have learned a lot since then. i have learned to look before i leap. i have learned that emotions are not everything. i have learned that i can love without expecting reciprocation and be ok. i have learned to discern between love and lust. i have learned to enjoy the company of someone, without overstepping boundaries. i have learned to have boundaries. i have learned to increase my capacity. i have learned to be at peace in pain.

i have had many heartaches still after that first one, and though each still offer me great discomfort, i can say with each, i come out better. with each lesson learned, i guess, is a forward step closer to a fully-transformed me. older, wiser, more centered, a step closer to the ideal me, made perfect to meet my match.... God willing, that is :)