Saturday, May 30, 2009

Row Four Memories

I just attended my marathon clinic's first meeting on Thursday, May 28 at the Markham Runningroom as a repeater (I did not fail the last one, I just want to master the training :)). Our instructor is the same guy, Ray Lim, early 60s, who in the last clinic's first meeting impressed all of us when he said he'd done 57 marathons, one each month after he did his first in 2004. Five months after, his credentials have improved, now with 62 marathons under his belt.

Same as the last time, Ray, spoke about the clinic's training schedule, training days, training logs,types of training, duration, graduation race, run club days, running goals, speakers, topics of discussion. He again introduced the clinic's group leaders who are all accomplished marathon runners in their own right. A few of them are past and present qualifiers and finishers of the Boston marathon . Some of them were former marathon clinic instructors themselves, while others are not only into running but also into triathlons.

Of the more than 20 runners signed up for the clinic, I was one of a few who have never completed a full marathon. Most of the runners there are repeat clinic members who have completed marathons before and are just training for another race or trying to improve their times. Two people said they plan to run an ultramarathon in less than a month's time. Some have just run Boston, while others have times that are close to Boston qualifying times.

As we heard from each runner in that room about his/her running experiences and goals, Nette (my LSD running partner), who also has not run a marathon before looked at me with a smile and whispered in my ear, " Bong, are we in the right clinic?"

My mind then wandered back to my elementary school days in the Philippines, and I still recall vividly while in a classroom during a written test, the teacher saying, " Pinis or not pinis, pass your papers!" :) I was then always in row four or farther from the front row, always wondered how and why my row 1 classmates almost always passed the papers ahead of us and still got the highest marks. :)

Now I know that for me to achieve my goal of finishing a full marathon in September, I have to think positive and rid my psyche of "row four" memories.


  1. Hi Bong, time to move to row 1 na yata. O kahit row 2 lang. Good luck in your training :-)

  2. Hi Bong. I know you can do it. It doesnt matter if someone has done no marathons or 200 marathons, everyone is there to do their best and encourage one another. I wouldnt worry about what others have done, just look at what you have achieved and what your goals are. When I trained for my first marathon, there were others that were a lot more experienced than me, but I did not worry about that. We are all in these clinics for one thing, to run the marathon. You will do great, and like John Stanton said up in Ottawa, no matter how long it takes, you will have a personal best.

  3. Hi Bong,

    I remeber row 4. Hahahaha. But then we still have room for a lot of improvement. I am also looking to running a full mary by next year.

    We may be slow but we can finish. Keep running!



  4. I am with you in prayer bro. for this marathon of yours, and your instructor with 62 marathons already? Oh wow, that's great!
    Take care and regards to your family!

  5. Man, after two years of running and not being part of that speedy group you should know by now that you have to run your own race, right?

    Then again, I guess being in the marathon clinic is a different experience altogether. Still: don't mentally take yourself out of the running before you even begin!

  6. Thanks Rico. If only I could lose more weight, with the mileage I now do, I know my times would improve. Kaso, I still eat too much Filipino dishes which are mostly calorie rich.

    You are right Techgui, I have to stop worrying about finishing times and just concentrate on doing my training runs to prepare me for the big day (marathon). I heard the cut off time for the Scotia Waterfront marathon is 6 and 1/2 hours. An average of close to 8 minutes per k would do it.

    Hi Neil. Thanks. I think with a little more discipline in my eating habits I may be able to transfer to row 3 or even row 2, he he.

    Thanks Ronnie, I always read your posts not only because they're interesting, informative but mostly inspirational. I appreciate your humility despite having achieved so much and taking failure as a temporary setback from which one may learn lessons from. Take care and enjoy running.

    Hey Jay, mentally, I think I am tough, although I sometimes have lingering doubts when my body does not cooperate sometimes. I always psyche myself into believing I could run any distance, but how fast my times are is another story. If only I could have the same discipline you have, I think after 2 years of running, I should be in much better physical shape.

  7. Hi Bong,
    Good luck on your marathon training. Being at the running clinic will make you realize your dream of running a 42km. Think of your story as a motivation towards your goal, stand up and go to the first seat, kahit nasa row four pa rin (LOL).
    Good to find your site, best regards.

    vener - run unltd.

  8. Thanks Vener. I am very motivated and pumped up right now, and doing my training runs religiously plus some extra mileage depending on how I feel. My dream is to move to the front row (row 1)in the future :). I passed by your blog too and added yours to my favorites. Your posts are interesting and enjoyable to read.