My Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Anniversary

Today marks another milestone in the long, colorful history of running : Dec. 2, 2012 – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I’m going nostalgic over it.  I ran 42.195KM in last year’s edition.  It was my first time to join a full marathon event abroad, and my first to cover such distance without the presence of any of my teammates.  I intended to run it that way, for I wanted to test my WILLPOWER so badly‘What the mind conceives, the body achieves’…on with it!  I registered as soon as SCMS started accepting runners for the 2011 ed.  I had my flights and hotel accommodation booked, as well.  I invested on this test.  I had to finish it no matter how crazy it sounded.  I posted it in Facebook, not for the bragging rights, but to challenge myself even more.  Failure was never an option. 

I have a way of working on and around my goals, but at that time, it wasn’t working.  If it wasn’t working in a certain area of my life, then I would have to compensate the need to accomplish something – running did it for me without fail.  I was certain to beat all doubts in my head. 

SCMS 2011 - From Orchard - East Coast Park - Raffles Blvd - Padang

SCMS 2011 – From Orchard – East Coast Park – Raffles Blvd – Padang

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 – I spent only half of the day in the office.  I had a late afternoon flight to catch at NAIA Terminal 2, and a carbo-loading dinner waiting for me in Pasir Ris, SG.  The dinner was hosted by Ate Emma – whose friendship I cherish for two decades and counting. 

I checked-in at Concorde Hotel Orchard Road around 11PM.  Staying in my friends’ flat meant that they would also need to wake up at wee hours of the morning, so I opted to stay in a hotel near the START line (Ngee Ann City, Orchard). Five things about Concorde: spacious room, courteous staff, good food, location, and competitive rates.  Adrenaline and dopamine fueled my excitement.  I can’t wait to start the next fun-filled day with my long-time friends.

Concorde Hotel Orchard - my home away from home for two tonights

Concorde Hotel Orchard – my home away from home for two nights

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 – It was never too early to give myself a small reward for being gutsy enough to join SCMS.  It was a breakfast treat – the best strawberry pancakes via room service! 

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Right on time, 10AM – my SG-based soul sister Atty. Cashmere fetched me from the hotel, and we headed straight to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for the Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC).  With almost 60K runners, the REPC that morning was surprisingly hassle-free!  We still had time to do a little shopping before we met up with Renchie to lunch.  We were greeted with fine dining at Sky on 57, and the best aerial view of Metro Singapore at the SkyPark.

Bestfriends from Bukluran days! =)

Best friends from Bukluran days! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptous soup is served with a shot of Johnny Walker Blue Label.  Superb! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptuous soup is served with a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Superb! =)

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! - MBS Skypark / View Deck

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! – MBS Skypark / View Deck

View from MBS - The Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer – view from the SkyPark

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Another tourist coming to life...

Another tourist attraction coming to life…

The day didn’t end at MBS.  It started to rain again at 3PM, and I was thinking – here’s another epic run waiting to happen, a full marathon in the rain.  Cashmere probably noticed that I was beginning to feel the pressure.  The remedy:  we went to another shopping destination – Takashimaya, later to be joined by the lovely couple Kris and Jenny-Vi.  Good conversation over Korean food – we called it dinner!  Cashmere accompanied me back to the hotel.  She asked for my after-race (kikay) kit and promised to cheer for me at the Finish line.  At 8PM, it was ‘goodnight, Orchard’.

NOW the RUNNING PART…

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – My day started at 2AM.  A bit before 5AM, I was one with the crowd as we cheered at the START line.  No time pressure, I told myself,  finish it

SG has a relatively flat terrain and warm climate – same as Metro Manila…but humidity in SG was a major factor. I didn’t expect that level of humidity.  After KM5, I felt that my body fluids were gone.  At KM23, East Coast Park – I saw a number of runners down to their knees, agonizing in pain called cramps.  It was shocking.  At KM31, I thought it was the FINISH line for some distance categories, as the crowd was thick.  It wasn’t a finish line, it was the MEDICS area.  I passed by and saw a lot of people lying on stretchers.  They were so pale.  It gave me ‘The Chill’.

At KM32, I noticed edema (water) in my fingers.  All 10 were swollen already and started to numb.  I knew it was temporary, but I didn’t want to risk it – not being able to finish the marathon.  I didn’t fly all the way to SG to DNF (Did Not Finish – a term use in running.  It means ‘dropping out of the race’).  I had to lower my pride.  I knew at that moment, I wouldn’t be able to beat my time at MIM (Manila International Marathon).  I had to walk all the way to the FINISH line.  The good thing about it was, I had my cellphone-camera with me. 

The course wasn’t all pretty as I reached the FINISH line.  Runners dropping out of the race in pain, assisted by the paramedics and race marshalls – it was a common, disheartening scenario.  I continued to pray.  The race became my metaphor.  I set goals to achieve…then what?  I realized that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life, not like this – ALONE!  Pride had no room at that moment.  I was confronted by my metaphor.  I knew there was something out there for me, which was more than running and chasing goals left and right.  I knew it all along. 

START Line - Ngee Ann City

START Line – Ngee Ann City

7KM na lang! =)

7KM na lang! =)

Scenic race route

Scenic race route: it was like touring SG by foot

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

My favorite shot during the race - an SCMS official photo

My favorite shot during the race – an SCMS official photo

Finish! =)

Finish! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

After-race-treats! =)

After-race-treats! =)

Atty. Cashmere waited for me at the FINISH line.  She knew that I would have a tough time negotiating the impact of SG’s natural humidity.  She didn’t bother to tell me before hand; it might be quite discouraging.  She also knew I would get through it – come hell and high waters.  (Thank you, sis!  You’ve got faith in me! Thank you for supporting me all the way! It meant a lot.)

That same day at 5PM, I was already in Changi Airport, bound for Manila.  This was, indeed, one for the bucket list.

Wait, there’s more!  I managed to shop online for an original DVD as soon as the official SCMS announcement came out.  Addict! =)  This one is for my (future) children. 

Talk about drafting a personal history...

Talk about drafting a personal history…

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Minsan lamang ako mag-full marathon…

“Once, twice, thrice – gaano ba kadalas ang minsan?” – Hilda Koronel, Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (1982)

Once…

Manila International Marathon – Sept 25, 2011

Twice…

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore – December 4, 2011

Thrice…my love-run-crazy 3rd?  11 days to October 28. =) 

Photo grabbed from Runrio’s Official Website.
http://www.runrio.com

Part III – ‘Pako’ (English: Nail; not another MMK episode)

Photo: http://www.sonomachristianhome.com
Try to imagine me running like this in a concrete jungle called MOA Parking Lot.

Naka-dress pa naman ako pero kailangan ko tumakbo.  Hays, hassle!  No choice, hindi ko sya matawagan sa mobile number nya ‘cannot be reached’ sabi sa line…Kaya hinawakan ko sa magkabilang gilid ang dress ko para hindi ito tumaas habang tumatakbo.

“Kaya ko ‘to. Runner ako.” Ito na lang ang sinabi ko sa sarili ko na para bang mahirap ang 100-to-300meter-dash compared sa 42.195km marathon distance.

Buti na lang may tsinelas sa kotse, at least ‘barefoot’ feel ang pagtakbo ko…

Target:  kailangan ko mahabol si BFD!

“Daves! Daves!”, sumisigaw na ko baka sakaling marinig nya ko…bakit kasi ang bilis nya maglakad?  O sadya syang tumakbo palayo sa ‘kin?

Takbo ulit ako…kailangan ko tumawid, at biglang huminto ang dalawang sasakyan sa harap ko sabay senyas ng mga driver na tumawid na ako.  Pinagbigyan nila ako makatawid, naawa siguro sa ‘kin.  Sumenyas naman ako na katumbas ng ‘Thank you!”…ang aking mala-alamat na ‘politician’s wave’.

Malapit na ko sa MOA IMAX.  Mahirap din pala tumakbo ng halos barefoot pag hindi sanay, kaya sumigaw na ko ng todo…

“Daaaavvvveeeesss!!!”, siguro naman nararamdaman nyo ang pagsigaw ko nyan, ang haba ng spelling ng ‘Daves’ ha.  =)

At parang isang eksena lamang sa MMK, nakatayo na lang ako sa kabilang kalsada ng parking lot, medyo (feeling) pagod sa paghabol…ako na ang damsel in distress!!!  Isang role na hindi ko kailanman na na-imagine gagampanan ko sa tunay na buhay…sa aking tunay na buhay, mind you!

Ang long-hair na si BFD ay huminto sa paglalakad, at dahan-danang lumingon sa aking direksyon.  Sa sandaling iyon ay bakas sa kanyang mga mukha ang pagkagulat…marahil ay dahil sa isang katulad ko na literally humahabol sa isang katulad nya (Queue El DeBarge music, circa 1986:  “Someone just like me / Running into someone just like you / An accidental touch / Turned into a gentle kiss of two…”).  Mas masaya pag cheesy!  =)

“Daves! FLAT TIRE!!!  Flat ang gulong ng kotse ko!  May malaking pako!”, yan lamang ang aking nasabi at lumapit na sya sa akin.  Takot ako na hindi makauwi agad nang dahil sa flat tire.  Gabi na rin kasi yon.

Naglakad kami pabalik ng parking para palitan ni BFD ang flat na gulong ng aking kotseng si Migs.  Halos humiga na si BFD sa parking lot, kahit madumihan ang damit nya basta maayos nya lang mailapat ang jack at maiangat ang gulong na papalitan. Hindi sya vain…at sa isang dako, parang mabubuhay kaming dalawa kahit ma-trap kami sa isang island (saglit lang yan pumasok sa isip ko…ayokong lagyan ng malisya).

Sample photo: Ilovecostco.com
Walang sinabi ang Potenza GIII ni Migs sa walang awang pako.

Sa mga sandaling yon ay ‘My Hero’ ang dating ni BFD sa akin, pero natuwa lang ako.  At least, makakauwi na ko, okay na ang gulong ni Migs.  Nagpasalamat ako kay BFD, at nag-offer pa ako na i-treat sya sa Starbucks pero tumanggi sya at hindi naman ako nagpumilit.  Madali ako kausap. Ayaw mo, huwag mo.  =)

Meron akong realization:  Okay naman pala friend si BFD.  Hindi ko naman kasi alam kung ano ang purpose nya, at ayoko itong pangunahan.  Kung friendly lang talaga sya at naghahanap ng kausap, well, hindi naman masama maging friends kami.  Natuwa na ako na may bago akong kaibigan.

Ni-report ako ni BFD sa mga kaibigan ko:  Muli naungkat ang kwento ng ‘flat tire’ nang ipinakilala ko na si BFD kila Kris, Jenny-Vi, at Atty. Cashmer.

Ito ang kanyang report –> Hinatid nya ako sa parking lot.  Magkahiwalay kasi kami ng parking area.  Pagdating sa kotse, hindi ko pa man nabubuksan ang pinto, ay ‘pinalayas’ ko na (daw) sya sa pagsasabi ng “Sige, uwi ka na!”  Napaka-inggrata ko daw, hindi man lang ako nagpasalamat sa kahit ano…basta pinaalis ko na lang sya…kaya malungkot syang umalis sa parking area…hindi nakapag-moment man lang kagaya ng kanyang original plan…At matapos nyang palitan ang gulong, hindi daw ako nag-insist man lang sa Starbucks…gusto pala nya, pinilit ko sya…oh, well…may ganon???  =)  Isa lang ang sabi ni Kris kay BFD nang ito ay magreklamo, “It’s so Ann!”.

Ang ‘wicked’ version nila Kris and Jenny-Vi, at ni Atty. Cashmer:  Pag-alis ni BFD sa parking, tinawag ko (daw) ang Guard, sabay sabi ng mala-kontrabidang instructions, “Eto ang pako, tatakbo ako papunta don sa lalaking andito kanina.  Siguraduhin mo lang na pagbalik ko ay flat na ang gulong ha…siguraduhin mo ha…sige, simulan mo na, tatakbo na ko…”

Photo: Wikipedia.org
Parang kasing wicked ko ata si Cruella sa flat tire version nila Jenny-Vi?

Nanghinayang kami ni BFD ngayon sa ‘pako’.  Dapat pala pinakuha ko sa vulcanizing shop…nang dahil sa pakong iyon, a few days after the ‘flat tire’ episode, may natanggap akong message kay BFD…

“Sagot ko na yung movie tickets sa Friday, wag mo lang ulit ako pahihigain sa parking lot (para magpalit ng flat tire).”

Pwede… 

Part II – Si BFD. Walang Malisya. (not another Derek Ramsey movie)

Paunawa

Kailangan mailathala ang Part II upang mabisa nating maitawid ang kwento sa Part III.  Paunawa sa mga babasa, napaka-wholesome po ito na kwento, walang bahid dungis o pagkahumaling (whew!), kaya isantabi nyo po muna ang alam nyo na (wag madumi isip)  Je je je   =)

Part II – Si BFD.  Walang Malisya.  (not another Derek Ramsey movie)

…nakilala ko ang isang runner / blogger na may initial na BFD (parang blind item lang dapat sa una)…at parang wala lang syempre noon.  Chill.  Deadma.  Ni hindi man lang pumasok sa isip ko na palitan ang aking major crush na si…Derek Ramsey!!!

Actor Derek Ramsey – sya na!!!
Photo credit: No Other Woman – Star Cinema

Dumating ang pagkakataon na naghanap ako ng ibang sports maliban sa badminton…napunta ako sa running. Nagsimula ako sa 5KM hanggang sa umakyat ng 21KM…at hindi ko din akalain kakayanin kong tapusin ang 42.195KM last year.  Naging sobrang addict ako sa life.  Sa level ng energy na meron ako, parang wala ng bukas.  Badminton 2x a week, running 3x a week…at syempre andyan ang aking trabaho na kailangan din seryosohin dahil mahirap kumita ng pera; lalo na isip ang puhunan ko sa trabaho, hindi katawan (kung pwede lang sultry actress ala-Anne Curtis).

February 2011 – Naghahanap ako ng resources noon sa internet tungkol sa running hanggang sa mapadpad ako sa isang website – http://www.barefootdaves.com  Ang website na ito ay aking sinundan (‘follow’ ang term dito sa web, hindi po ako stalker) para updated din naman ako sa running.  Madali makilala ang owner ng website na ito sa mga road race ‘pag Sunday.  Ang haba kasi ng hair ni Barefootdaves (BFD)…lalaki sya, okay!  =)

Minsan na ako nagtanong kay BFD sa website nya.  Hindi naman sya suplado, pati sa Facebook friendly naman .  Ilang buwan ko sya naka-chat pero bihirang-bihirang-bihira at tungkol lang lahat sa running….SOBRANG WALA LANG.  WALANG MALISYA!  Hindi ako defensive…pero kay BFD ata baka may malisya.  Tanungin nyo na lang sya.

Sa RU3, November 2011, 32km category – mula Buendia palabas ng Roxas Blvd may maingay na nag-uusap sa tabi ko…medyo annoying nga eh.  So tumingin ako sa left, pati na rin sa right, at nakita ko si ‘long-hair’, este BFD na naka Team Alpha 1 singlet!  Aaminin ko sa world wide web sa pagkakataon na ito na somehow, ‘starstruck’ ako sa presence ni BFD (slight lang ha)…pero walang malisya, isa nga kasi ako follower ng kanyang blog (pwede mag-explain).  Sa ilang pagkakataon na magkatabi kami sa kalsada, naisipan ko mag ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ pero hindi nya ko napapansin, ni hindi man lang sya tumingin sa ‘kin…kaya nasabi ko na lang kay Jay (SM Runners) – “kasabay pala natin si Barefootdaves.”

Tumingin ako sa left, pati na rin sa right…si BFD!
PEG: Nakita ko lang. Hindi ko crush. Walang malisya.

Nagsimula din ako mag-blog last year para magkaron ng online backup ng ilang mga alaala, resilient na ang web compared sa Alzheimer’s kaya mabuti na din na may online backup.  At sa isang post ko noon November 2011, nagulat na lang ako nang may magpost ng comment …walang iba kundi si…hindi si Derek (ayyyyy)…kundi si BFD!!!  Wala pa itong malisya.  As in, chill lang kami pareho.  Flattered lang ako sa idea na isang kilalang runner-blogger si BFD, na para bang ang trivial ng blog ko sa runner na katulad nya pero heto sya at nag comment pa!

At dahil sa mga pag-comment na yan sa blog, naniniwala na ako ngayon sa sinabi ni ADD ng SM Runners…”para-paraan lang yan!”  Wink, wink….

At kung sa paanong paraan, itutuloy natin mula sa Mundo ng Running patungo sa mga Keso sa Part III….  =)

My Full Marathon Journey

Marathon – a long distance running event with an official distance of 42.195KM (26miles and 385yards), that is usually run as a road race; instituted in honor of a Greek soldier – Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.  – Wikipedia

February 2011 – I vowed to finish my first full marathon (FM) in 2011.  I was feeling especially grateful because I was out of the woods already.  Each time I laced up my shoes to train, I was being reminded how closer I was to uniting my family and friends to re-affirm how blessed we are and we have so much to share.  It was truly inspiring – from a sickly soul to a marathoner, with people pledging to support a charitable institution for every kilometer I would cover.  The goal was huge, and announcing it to my favorite crowd made me shiver. I cried.  I was so addicted to life. 

In 2011, I completed two full marathons:  Manila International Marathon (MIM), Sept 25; and Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS), Dec 4.  

42KM – MIM – 25 Sept 2011

SM Runners – Trail Run – Tagaytay Highlands

38 of 42KM – SCMS – 04 Dec 2011

FM – SCMS – 04 Dec 2011
Photo courtesy of Atty. Cashmer

It is true that I was hospitalized, Dec 11 due to electrolyte imbalance and elevated level of creatinine.  Root cause : over fatigue.

Few hours after I crossed the SCMS finish line at St. Andrews Padang in Singapore, I flew back to Manila.  For the rest of the week, I was reporting to work as if I did not run an FM.  I even played badminton.  Addict nga eh!  Adrenaline was able to sustain me for that duration.  

Dec 11, I woke up to prepare for the Milo Finals.  I was to participate in the half marathon category (21KM).  I couldn’t get up from bed.  I was almost paralyzed – an instant ticket to the Emergency Room of DGMC.  I received my first and last dose of Tramadol via intravenous injection.  Instant effect:  my condition went critical.  My body was fighting off the drug – palpitation, numbness, nausea, and skin – pale as dead.  The doctors were terribly worried, too.  It took about 15 minutes for my condition to stabilize.  I was receiving painful potassium supplement, diluted into the intravenous bottle; and blood samples were being taken 4x a day.  I stayed in the hospital for 4 days – days it took for my potassium level to normalize. 

The urologist and internist ruled out muscle necrosis.  My kidneys are functioning 100%.  The cardiopulmonologist confirmed that my heart is very much healthy.  The OB told me to get a LOVE life!  (Nice one, doc!)  Given 3 to 5 months of rest, I can go back to full marathon training – but no more back-to-back full marathon for me.  I was advised to train for one full marathon a year (only), and give myself at least 3 months to recover from an FM.

I’ve been jogging for several weeks now…in preparation for my third FM.  I have set some ‘checkpoints’ along the course to carefully gauge my readiness for it. Call it crazy, but I think I’ve become a runner by heart.  I’m going to brisk walk / jog / run until I grow old.  Like what I wrote after my first FM, it’s going to be Ann + Running = Forever.  I guess, this is it.  =)

Stroll (scroll) down memory lane:  =)

https://meowthmoments.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/an-open-letter-give-back-and-thanksgiving-my-first-full-marathon/

https://meowthmoments.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/ann-running-forever/

I go for the journey, not for the race

My second full marathon is just around the corner – mauuna sya kaysa sa Christmas!   

December 4, 2011:  another dream that I must fulfill = my first offshore full marathon = touring the prime districts of one of my favorite cities by foot = The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I completed a long distance run of 32KM last week, which coincided with the Run United 3 Afroman Distance event.  While I was at it, I was practically re-tracing the route of my first full marathon (Manila International Marathon, 25 Sept 2011).  Running, once again, gave me an opportunity to reflect, count my blessings, be grateful, and come up with creative ways on how to become a blessing to others.  Buhay na buhay ang spirit, hindi lang katawang lupa.   

Looking back to that first full marathon experience – It’s one of those firsts which cannot be replicated – yun na yon, kung ano pa man yon.  I enjoyed every minute of it kahit alam kung may susunod pang ibang running events.  Hindi ako nagmadali, eto yung pakiramdam na kung pwede lang huminto saglit ang oras – ako lang, yung ibang level ng fulfillment na naramdaman ko noon, at syempre, ang aspalto.  Hindi halata na in love ako sa running.  =) 

Several times did friends ask how it must have felt reaching the finish line of a full marathon (42.195km).  To me, it was a mixed of raw emotions – (sobra) happy for a dream fulfilled, and (medyo) sad because I knew I would miss the journey – the weeks of preparation, the special petitions, the excitement, pep-talk by friends, consultation with the doctors (wala na talaga ako sakit!)…even my in denial hopeless romantic side was not spared, at madami pang iba. 

 The journey is something I can’t get enough of.  It’s a metaphor of life.  Nakaka-addict!  =)

Run United 3 - 13 Nov 2011 - Afroman Distance - 32KM

 

So happy to see the Finish Line

 

SCMS - 04 December 2011

 
 
 

Zone out?

I don’t know who stole my magic.  I don’t write to complain, but rather confess – I am so uninspired.  I’m not keeping up with the marathon training.  Period. 

I don’t want to blame it on my new assignment at work.  I’m not blaming that feeling of longer-than-expected recovery from my first full marathon back in September.  Who am I to blame the weather? Not the weather. 

I don’t know.  I don’t have any valid excuses. 

When I was training for my first full marathon, I would run 3x a week and play badminton 3x a week.  I was to run not only for myself, but for a sponsored charity.  Now, badminton’s is so-not in the calendar, and I’m not running 4x a week, as planned.  Haysss…

I went for my tried-and-tested forms of therapy – music, spa, meditation, visual art, shopping, hanging out with friends…

All I could think of is…vacation in a far away place…away from it all! I know that I won’t be able to do so until February 2012.  Just my luck.    

With only 33 days left before the Singapore Marathon, I should be in the zone again by now. 

Ann + Running = Forever

Manila International Marathon (MIM) – 25 September 2011

I was in the middle of Macapagal Avenue, just 8KM to the finish line when my calves were attacked by the big bad wolf = cramps.  I was shamelessly talking to my feet – yes, it was my bratty self talking, “kasi naman, ano klase mga paa kayo…dinala nyo ko ng ganito kalayo tapos dito nyo ko ititirik?!  “C’mon feet, make me the happiest person today, please…”

Call it Divine Intervention, the sharp pain disappeared from both calves, and I was able to jog to KM39. 

KM39 mark, I began walking.  A weird thing hit me, mentally.  It was even worse than the cramps…I never thought the idea of stopping would ever cross my mind.  It did.  I was asking myself whether to walk all the way to the finish, or why am I doing this in the first place?  I could hear my pacer Jigger telling me to run, “takbo na Ann, kayang-kaya mo pa, sprint”, but I was not listening.  It was a part of me which I never thought existed, until KM39 of my first full marathon.  My legs were literally numb.  It was scary and disorienting.

After almost a KM of hitting that mental wall, a surge of energy jolted me back to reality. People on a truck in the other lane were handling me bottled water…I got one and poured the water on my face, and I cooled down a bit. I saw a number of under nourished kids crossing the street.  Something I knew all along surfaced – that I was to draw strength from a charity program (HAPAG-ASA) which my friends would be supporting, provided that I finish my first full marathon (they pledged to help, just finish the marathon alive…hehehe).  I was back in the marathon.  I was pacing to the finish line once again.  “C’mon, Ann! Run!  Run! Run!” 

300m to finish line, I was so happy to see Dhes, our cheer leader.  Ed was still somewhere in the area, while Jigs running by my side fulfilling his pacer duty. Darwin was ready with a camera.  God sent me angels! I was smiling for all the right reasons.  I was ecstatic – yeah, 42.195km and now the finish line! We made it!  =)

My angels did spoil me up to a certain extent, before-during-after the marathon – Jigs and Ed paced me during longer runs while I was training.  In the actual marathon, Jigs even allowed me to take a snack break, Bacchus break, a bladder break in a posh hotel. Darwin made sure that I stayed injury-free, and volunteered to become my official photographer.  Friends like Dhes were all out with cheers and prayers.

The race organizer screw up big time, but the good things were so much greater than the negatives.  I received more than I prayed for. 

I would never ever regret the day when my bitchy, rebellious self decided to alter the medication program –I flushed all my maintenance medicine in the toilet, threw away the oxygen-in-cans. Time to start a journey to wellness, minus those medication drugs – I couldn’t take it anymore.  I am forever thankful for that morning when I first laced up my shoes to run.   I never thought I would love to run for as long as I can.

I met myself again along the road leading to the finish line – that part of me with a classic sense of determination. It was so re-assuring that life is going to be fine.  From training to completing the marathon, I passed a decade’s worth of cardiac tests, blood chemistry analyses, and ultra sound screenings.  Finally, I am healed.  =)

 

jigs on pacer duty

 
ultramarathoners turned pacers: jigs and ed

Finish line!SM Runners

Running and Nostalgia

I was in my element as my feet were pounding the pavement going for KM 25.  Music and blessings occupied my mind, and my system was oblivious of sinusitis.  The next track was Beyonce’s – Best Thing I Never Had. 

The thought suddenly hit me – how it was a year ago, or may be over a year ago, back in the day when I was desperately trying to call the right shots from outcome of bad choices.

Nostalgia began to play some stark words, but the emotions became blurry. I was again thankful for the enlightenment that I can look back to see how awful the experience was, and still appreciate where it brought me.  I made some bad decisions, but I never lose sight of what rightfully belongs to me – respect.

Letting go and being at peace with it is more liberating. Somehow, I made wise decisions, too <– and I stand firm.  It’s never easy, but as a good friend puts it, “isa lang ang buhay bakit hindi pa ayusin.”  (Yes, Ruckus – that made me buy another precious arm candy as a ‘congratulatory’ gift for myself.)

Liberation brings me closer to that borderline-miraculous element – if I write now that the element is self-actualization, people who really know me will say it’s BS.  So, I’m sparing my friends P1.00 by preventing them from sending me text messages saying – “Ann writes crap”. No lame (love) story hereafter.  =)

Here’s the music video of that ‘atta-girl’ song by Beyonce.  Happy listening!

AN OPEN LETTER: Give back and thanksgiving – my first full marathon

Dear Family and Friends,

 I hope this letter finds you well.

 I will run my first full marathon on June 26, 2011 at the Manila International Marathon.  A full marathon covers a standard distance of 42.195KM.  I have spent 16 weeks training for it, in the company of my fellow SM Runners.  I did my first half marathon, uphill runs, and trail runs with them; driving up to Baguio and Tagaytay. My pacers – those who will run alongside with me in the marathon:  Ed Escalante, Jigger Meneses, and Jayson Tan.   I must say that I owe them a lot for I would not have reached week 16 if it wasn’t for their support. 

 Why I want to run my first full marathon this year?

1.  Crossing the finish line is a huge gesture of thanksgiving and triumph for living through 33 years of a blessed life – something I owe my Creator and the people who touched my life.
2.  I have truly embraced my passions – one of which is RUNNING.
3.  Unite family and friends for a cause – this marathon is not about me stretching expectations of myself, but I want to do something good which is beyond me.   
 

You can help me make this event more special.  It’s not everyday I’m being given an opportunity to unite family and friends for a social cause – and I guess, this is one of the best times to do just that.  I want to make my full marathon an instrument to help people – to reach out to the community.  I have chosen a charity program called HAPAG-ASA – an integrated feeding program managed by The Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation.  Enclosed in this letter is a rationale of the said program.

Now, here’s the deal.  I will openly accept any amount you can whole-heartedly pledge for every kilometer that I can cover during the marathon.  Example: P2.00 for every kilometer.  If I finish the full 42KM, then your donation to HAPAG-ASA is, P84.00.  =)

Donations will be collected on week of June 27, or you may send me an email or text message so that I can give you my current account number.  All donations will be turned over to HAPAG-ASA under the name – SM RUNNERS AND FRIENDS.  I will be providing a report thereafter. 

Thank you so much for always sending me thoughts of strength through prayers. 

Sincerely,

ANN

http://www.manilainternationalmarathon.com/racecourse.htm#42k