Finisher’s Towel

My husband and I do not share bathrooms.  He likes to use my sons’ bathroom because he says it’s bigger.  It worked well for us, I like that my feminine scented body washes and shampoos don’t have to crowd with his “manly” soaps, and that we don’t share towels.

Last week, my jaw literally dropped when I saw him using my towel – my 2014 TBR Dream Marathon Finisher’s towel. “How dare you.  You don’t have the right to use that,” I thought.  “You have to run 42 kilometers to earn that.”

gatorade towel

Then it hit me. Yes, I ran 42.195 kilometers with my own two feet but let’s face it, my husband’s support throughout my training was important indispensable in getting me to race day. Every time he would come home from a trip, he would bring me back running books and magazines. He would buy me running apparels and Timex Ironman watches. He would give me fresh coconuts so I could replenish lost electrolytes after a run.  He was the one who paid for my marathon race fee and all the other shorter races leading to the marathon. He didn’t complain that sometimes I would spend the night over at Jehan’s house so that she and I could go to Nuvali very early the next day. His sleep was often disturbed when I had to get up at dawn for a long run.  My husband is not a runner but he definitely changed his schedule to accommodate mine and I appreciate him for that.

So yes, my dear husband, you too deserve it.  Go ahead and use that towel.  In fact, you can have it.

TBRDM 2015 Done!

The marathon is so much more than a race. So much more than 42.2 kilometers or 26.2 miles. It’s a triumph of the human spirit. A life changing endeavor. A molder of champions.
– Coach Jim Lafferty             

Congratulations to Joy and Pinky for finishing The Bull Runner Dream Marathon last Sunday! I am so proud of you.

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Before gun start.

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Few minutes before 2am. I was glad that I wasn’t running. 🙂

Go, go, go!

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Pinky cuts the tape!

Joy crosses the finish line

Joy crosses the finish line

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happy marathoners

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Congratulations! All your hard work paid off and you inspire me. How can this not make me want to lace on my shoes and run? 

My Condura Skyway Marathon Story

The Skyway will forever and always be more than just another highway for me.

Running the Condura Skyway Marathon Run for a Hero 2015 was an unbelievable experience – it’s something I will always remember. I had an incredible time and ran a strong race, never once stopping to believe that I will finish, no matter how difficult things got.

Let’s recap.

CSM runners

Joy, Rex, and I stayed in Jehan’s house because it is near the race venue.  We slept the whole afternoon and by 9 o’clock, everybody started to get ready but for whatever reason, we lost track of the time.  By the time we all got in the car, it was already 11:30 pm, just 30 minutes away from gun start and traffic was a nightmare! The only consolation we had was we were assigned to Wave I.  That means we will start around 12:30 am.

Anyway, we made it to Filinvest, parked, then made a quick stop at the portalets. After that I heard the race host say, “Three minutes left before 12 o’clock.” We hurriedly found our corral and heaved a sigh of relief.  We made it.

csm runners

At 12:30, our wave was released.  Unlike other races where runners cheered at the start line, this race had an emotional start.  The Philippine Navy band was playing and standing on the left side of the road were 44 uniformed men holding 44 photos of the fallen heroes of Mamasapano.  The runners gave them a long salute. It was heartbreaking because it was a long line. It gave us a palpable image of how many actually died.  Some cried, others stopped to look at the photos.

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Holding back the tears.

Jehan and I ran together. Our strategy was to break 42.195 kilometers into shorter segments so that we will not be overwhelmed.  Alabang, Sucat, Bicutan, Nichols, Magallanes, Don Bosco, and Buendia.

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condura marathon

For me, the toughest part of the course was the Magallanes bridge and we ran through it four times. There were runners sitting on the curb and medics were applying liniment on their legs.

Every now and then Jehan would say something to cheer us up. “We’re strong.” And I’d reply, “Yes. Light and tall.” It was also nice to see JN on the course and he gave us a packet of GU Roctane.

At 26 kilometers, my right foot numbed. Then it became very painful, like it was cut by a scalpel and then somebody squeezed calamansi into the wound. Then both feet hurt like crazy.  I told Jehan to go ahead.  I did not want to ruin her race because I was slowing down.  But she said, “It’s ok.  I’ll stay with you.” Then she gave me her bottle of water with hydrite. I was so grateful to her because I needed her for me to stay positive.  She is 10 years younger than me but she is more mature and emotionally stable and I am embarrassed to admit it.

At 28 kilometers, both of us were quiet, both absorbed in our own thoughts.  I listened to my breath going in and out, to my heart beating, and to my shoes pounding the asphalt. I glanced at Jehan and was surprised to see tears freely flowing from her eyes.

“Are you crying?”

She nodded.

“Why?!”

“I’m tired.”

“Do you need tissue?”

She shook her head and wiped the tears with her shirt. We slowed down but we never stopped.

I remembered the fallen heroes. I thought, “These men gave their lives for the country.  Who am I to complain because of my aching feet?”  I also recalled what Pastor Wayne Cordeiro said, “This is the moment you’ve been training for, the time when you’re ready to quit.”  I started reciting out loud the words that I wrote down on my hand:  “Strong. Finish. Strong. Finish.” 

It took a lot of effort to let my mind focus back on the race.

“Let’s bring it home,” I told her.

We started overtaking some runners.  In my mind I imagined I was PacMan.  Every runner I passed was a power pellet that gave me a boost.

Sucat. Just one more exit and then the finish line.  “Konting tiis na lang.  I think we’re going to PR!” We high-fived each other.

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We exited the Skyway and made two more turns. Go, go, go!

We sprinted towards the finish line and after we felt the timing mat under our feet, we hugged.  And then the tears, happy tears fell automatically.  Oh wow, we did it. Five minutes shaved off my PR and an incredible 15 minutes off for Jehan. We were ecstatic. Yay!

That morning, we ran 42.195 kilometers for our heroes and we conquered the Skyway.

Appropriately, an army soldier gave us our medals. Thank you Sir for your service.
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Sweet victory.

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We met Rex who finished earlier, and Joy who ran the 21 km race at the Condura Village. Everybody had a great race, thank God.
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Salute!
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After three marathons, I can actually say that I love the marathon distance. It’s the perfect distance to test both the body and the mind. It’s tough but I learn so much not only during the race but in the training leading to it. One of the most important things I learned is that long distance running is a mental game. Negativity has no place in this sport. I went into this race with a positive outlook and won in the end.

I thank God for giving me the strength to finish. It was an incredible journey which started months ago. But back then I have decided that this will be my third and last marathon. I told my siblings I will retire after Condura.

While Joy and I were resting in Jehan’s house I read a copy of Multisport magazine. I came across a CW-X ad and I said, “If we push through with our trip to Bangkok, I will buy this. It’s cheaper there.”

Joy didn’t answer.

“Oh wait, that’s right I’m already retired!” I totally forgot. LOL.

So, when’s the next race?

Here I Go Again

condura marathon 2015

Yes, that’s right. Today I signed up for my 3rd marathon. It will be on February 1, 2015 and I have 5 months to train.

So what’s a marathon? This very nice card on Pinterest defines it as
marathon
I like all three definitions, especially the last one: “The triumph of will over reason.” I fully understand what this means.  When I ran my second marathon in Nuvali last February, I told myself, “Never again!”  because it was super difficult.  I consider it the greatest battle between my body and my mind. But alas, today I signed up for another one.  Am I crazy? (That’s a rhetorical question. Haha!)

Look at the race course.  Isn’t this intimidating?

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Once again I will put my limits to the test.  And so I quote Jor-El, “The only way to know how strong, is to keep testing your limits.” (Man of Steel 2013)

I am ready.

Let’s go.

Let’s run!

My TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon Story

The Bull Runner Dream Marathon will forever and always be special to me.

It was on Saturday, the day before the marathon when Darius drove Jehan, Pinky, and I to Nuvali to check out the race course.  The three of us felt a cocktail of emotions: excitement, happiness, and fear. It was different to see the race course in broad daylight as compared to when we previously ran it at the crack of dawn.  As for me, I was terrified.  The terrible asthma attack I had three weeks before the race set me back in my training and made a huge dent in my confidence. I knew the difficulty of running a marathon having run the same race the previous year. But there was no turning back.

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In Nuvali a few hours before the race.

Sunday 1 a.m. We arrived in Nuvali and “Ready for Anything” was playing in full blast. “Yes, I’m ready,” I psyched myself. I was thankful that my siblings and Pinky’s parents came to watch and cheer. We said a prayer and then the three of us toed the line of the biggest race of our lives this year.

Minutes before the race.

Minutes before the race.

The gun fired at 2 a.m. It was a great start.  The energy was contagious. Jehan and I ran together but we separated after the 21-km mark.  I should have stayed with her because running alone was difficult! I took my gels like clockwork and hydrated efficiently but at 24 km, I knew I hit the wall.  “Too early!” So I told myself, “Keep doing what you’re doing. One foot in front of the other. Just another 4 kilometers and you’ll reach the guardhouse.”  But the landmark seemed to take an eternity to appear.

I was fading badly especially on the steep ascent before the 28th km. My left foot hurt like crazy and I knew that I lost a toenail. I called my brother-in-law (yes, I brought my phone with me) and cried. I don’t remember what I said but I was panicking. He said, “Take longer walk breaks.” On my way up to Miriam, I met Joseph Nebrida, a dream chaser, who was running down the hill. Was I ever glad to see him. “Is that you, JN? Please help me.” And he replied, “Pagbalik.”

I saw Jehan and Pinky before the 30th kilometer U-turn.  We high-fived each other.

I made it back to the 3rd support tent.  Maricar Leyva and Joseph assisted me.  They asked what I needed and offered me cookies.  I said, “Do you have something that’s not sweet? ” All that GU was making me sick. “Tuna sandwich, we have tuna sandwich!” Oh it tasted so good and I even got a few seconds of shoulder massage.

dream chasers tent 3

Joseph ran the downhill with me.  I told him, “After this, I’m hanging my running shoes.” With that he replied, “You have low blood sugar.  Eat your sandwich.   What will you say to your sons? What will you write in your blog? That you gave up? Hang your medal and not your shoes.”  That was a lot but he made sense.

I regained my composure and when we reached the the bottom of the hill, Joseph said, “Nine to go.  You can do it.  See that guy in the white shirt? Overtake him.” I thanked him and ran by myself again.  I did overtake that guy in the white shirt.

TBR ULAH

I put a bit of pressure on myself to run faster than my previous finish time but when I reached the rotunda, I felt a little sad because by then I knew that I wouldn’t be beating my PR. I spent so much mental energy on a running the last kilometers.

I remembered what Craig Logan said before the race, “If it get’s tough out there, look up.” I started reciting Psalm 121-“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  I tried hard not to lose focus. Every now and then I’d check my form and breathing. I told myself, “Just finish.” It was a biggest battle between my body and my mind.

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I passed the familiar landmarks: the guardhouse, the bridge, and the big acacia tree. The Abrio loop felt like death march, I saw some runners who looked like they were dying. I was on the last turn to the finish line when Michelle Logan ran beside me.  She said, “I’ll run with you to the finish. Good, good! Keep running strong.” Never had I been so relieved to see the finish line but it was blurred by tears.

michelle logan

As we neared it, I saw my sister Joy cheering from the sideline and then Michelle peeled away.  I crossed the finish line, reached for the tape and with much effort raised it above my head.  A matador placed the medal around my neck, a lady in a costume handed me an ice-cold face towel, and I covered my face with it.  The tears kept falling. It may not be the faster finish but it was definitely sweeter because never had I had to dig so deep in a run as I did that day.

finish line TBRDM

I finally took the towel off my face and I saw Ton Gatmaitan of Gatorade giving me an amused look.  I must have looked silly crying there by myself.  Jun Cruz shook my hand, Mike and Macel Janeo congratulated me, and Jaymie said, “Nakaya mo!” My family finally reached me and they were all very happy.

We went back to the hotel and Jehan and Pinky took a dip in the pool.  The chilly water would aid in faster recovery.  But I went straight up to my bed and cried again (by now it’s obvious to you that I’m a cry baby!).  To say that I was not disappointed with my time would be a lie. Who wouldn’t be? I’ve been training for this for months! I guess it was natural to want to beat your PR.  But that was not the reason why I cried.  I cried because at one point I actually stopped believing that I would make it.  It was so not me.

At the end of the day I can say that my marathon story is still a good one. I did it.  No regrets. I did not get the desired results but I got a valuable lesson in character building throughout the entire journey. I will still cherish this day even though it was heartbreaking.

It’s been more than a week since the marathon and it’s only now that I started writing my story.  But as I sit and type, I could actually feel the desire and determination building up inside me again.

A quote from Ziad K. Abdelnour says, “One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

I will try harder.

I guess I won’t be hanging my running shoes just yet.

I want to run another marathon!

————

More photos:

With Jaymie, The Bull Runner

With Jaymie, The Bull Runner and Pinky

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With Joseph (TBRDM 2012), Jehan, Sam (TBRDM 2013), and Pinky

Post marathon din in the pool.

Post marathon dip in the pool.

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Next day non-stop marathon recap.

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TBRDM-ULAH 2014 – Yes, we did it!

Photos by: Darius, JN-Tbr, Photo-Ops, and J-Cip.