Friday, November 27, 2009

Whitby 10k In Pictures

It's been a while since I last wrote in my blog. The historical achievements of two of our living heroes, Manny and Efren I followed very closely and with pride and hope that they inspire us specially the younger generation to follow their good examples.

I also closely follow the the most popular Filipino past time, the soap opera that is - politics, with the May 10 , 2010 presidential elections 6 months away. It was quite a surprise for me to hear about Chiz leaving the NPC and deciding not to run for election either as president of vice-president. More surprising was Manny Villar's accepting and including Bongbong Marcos in the NPs senatorial slate. With some senatoriables of the NP coming from the left, and Pia too, who admires the late Cory Aquino so much, having a Marcos in the same stage seems to be an odd sight.

Running wise, I had very few training runs before I did the Whitby 10k run last Sunday, November 22. I did 1:00:14 for the race , my fastest ever on a 10k but still short of breaking the 1 hour barrier. I thank Isaac, my 10k clinic instructor and friend for the pictures.

I'll be out of the country for a vacation with Jojo for 12 days, will try to get some mileage on the ship. I pray for the situation in Maguindanao to improve and justice and the rule of law prevail.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Being Sick And Not Being Able To Run

Always felt strong, fast, sleek, unstoppable in my twenties... (yabang, no :), He was probably saying, don't be too proud my son, you'd be a humbler man in your old days) )

And truly, now in my fifties, I am humbled because inspite of all the hardwork and training I've been doing I still am a slow runner.

I am down with the flu, luckily the mild ordinary one, not the strong swine flu that killed so many around the world in the last few months. I remember my last run last Thursday was supposed to be a 10k but after a little more than just 5k into it, I had to stop and return back home because of some breathing difficulty and feeling extraordinaly cold even though I was dressed warm. By the evening I started coughing, felt cold, and took the first of many tylenols. I called in sick and stayed at home, rested the whole day but the fever, coughing continued.

A visit to my family doctor the next morning confirmed what I feared of, the influenza. The doctor gave me strong medication for the flu, cough syrup, a puffer to relieve breathing difficulties and recommended for me to stay away from work till Friday the 13th ( woohoo! free vacation days for once). Except it sucks to be very very ill, 'cause I couldn't do anything else but rest in bed or the couch, and even sitting and facing the computer to read my favorite blogs for a longer period made me dizzy. So, had to use the couch in semi-lying down flat on your back position.

The other thing that I hate about being sick here is nobody takes care of you unless you're seriously sick enough to be in a hospital. Oh, how I miss my late mother, who used to baby me even when I was already an adult whenever I was very sick. She'd prepare me the best food and served me home made soup, sinigang, tinola or tahong with luya and sabaw, while wiping my face and arms with cold wet face towel every now and then. She was like Florence Nitingale personified. When I say nobody takes care of me, I mean nobody like my mother. My wife and daughter just go about their business once food, medicine and my basic needs are within my reach.

But the one thing I miss most is doing my training runs, solitary at least twice in the weekdays and with my running partner Nette on the Sunday long runs. I missed 2 training runs so far. How I wish I get well enough to once again feel the cool breeze, smell the scent of fallen leaves on the ground, and hear the quack quack of migrating geese flying overhead and see the mists created by my heavy breathing as I plod along during these runs. The last few days, I was just feeling like s__t, excuse me for the language, couldn't come up with the appropriate word.

Until this morning. I woke up at around 8 feeling a lot better than the previous days. I slept well enough last night and didn't remember coughing that much. Was strong enough to make my own breakfast and enjoyed a 30 minute slow walk in the park with Yuki on a beautiful, cool, sunny autumn morning. I even had a chance to walk Yuki in the woods where I used to run in the spring and summer, noticed trees bare and fallen leaves covering the pathways. Hmmmnnn... the sweet smell of autumn .

At home, took advantage to visit and catch up with reading my favorite blogs and commenting on some of them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories about their experiences in the PIM , Jovie,the Baldrunner, never thought that he'd ever post a slow time in a marathon, very brave for him to finish despite a calf muscle strain. Sam, the Ninjarunner, who walked the last few ks of the marathon due to cramps, who finished with Jovie, and Ronnie, I mean Super Ronnie for running and finishing all these races despite injuries and many more. And I almost forgot, this young guy, Jayson, aka Kastilyong Lapis, whose story of his first marathon was like watching a movie, who posted a sub 4 hours time despite a bad knee. We Pinoys, never run out of heroes. It was really a very inspiring day and productive of course to read all these feel good stories about Pinoy runners.

It's been more than 3 years, if I remember right when I last had been sick this bad. And running to a great degree contributed to my being healthy and not being sickly all these last few years.

Running in the meantime will have to wait until I am completely well. The weekend is a reasonable bet for me to resume running again. I miss it so much I hope I don't come across any runners while I walk Yuki in the park in 2 minutes. Pray that I recover from this illness soon enough for my 10k race on November 22.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A 10K Race A Day After Halloween

Trick or treat! 6 days before Halloween Yuki tried on this Minimouse dress that she wore last night. :)

I'm here at home just relaxing after running the Angus Glen 10k , a day after Halloween. My left knee (just below the kneecap) is sore and so is my left foot, and I don't know the reason why. I am one runner who always has something in my body hurting after a race, unlike other"natural"runners I know who could run another marathon a week after running one. Just like all my other 10k races, I went all out again to break the elusive 1 hour barrier. I failed again. I was however very much contented and happy with the result.

The last few days, I've been reading other runner bloggers' posts on their recent race experiences. I was very much touched by runners' accounts of poor organization in one supposedly international marathon in the home country and their courage, perseverance, resourcefulness to survive and finish despite the darkness, lack of marshalls and volunteers to guide runners and the absence of water/drinks in some water stations at the crucial distances of the race. I heard that some support vehicles for individual runners had to share their supplies to runners without support crew but others had to literally beg water from kind hearted spectators along the way. They ( the people who went out of their way helping the runners)deserve praise and admiration for being angels to our suffering runners. For a marathon, which generally has a cut off time of 6 and a half to 7 hours, hydration is very necessary and important. Lack of hydration to replace lost water in our system could lead to dehydration which in turn could lead to serious injury or death in more serious cases. Organizers of marathon races should understand this as basic in the sport of long distance running.

To go back to my race this morning, I woke up at 8 am after entertaining last night my nephew, his wife and their young children , who by the way just arrived from the home country a month ago to live here as immigrants permanently. The children have not experienced trick or treating on Halloween, so my daughters Marie and Denise accompanied the children around the neighborhood to knock on doors on Halloween night. The practice here is for every home to prepare candies, chocolates, chips, toys, children's books, other goodies and give them all away to children visiting your home on Halloween night. The children and even some parents or adult companions accompanying who watch over the kids dress in Halloween costumes. My nephews kids dressed as a pirate, Cleopatra, and a ninja (there were 3 of them). My pet Yuki joined them dressed as Mini mouse :). I stayed with them as a good host should be until 10pm when I said my good night, have to sleep early coz of my race tomorrow. Jojo took over and I could overhear the laughter of the kids and the adults downstairs as the kids checked their shopping bags overflowing with goodies. I slept like a log.

Back to this morning, I had breakfast with Jojo, Denise and Marie and in between sipping coffee and munching on my toasted whole wheat pita bread with cheese, we all looked at Denise's pictures of her travel to Istanbul and other parts of Turkey.

By 9:30 am, was thru with all the pre race preparations. Checked the temperature, plus 6 Celsius, so changed to shorts, one undershirt, one long sleeved technical shirt and a wind breaker vest. Decided at the last minute not to carry any water/gatorade bottles and hydration belt. Picked up smallest plastic drink container and filled it with gatorade. Then drove to the site.

At the Angus Glen clubhouse by 9:55 am where I picked up my timing chip. Noticed free Tim Hortons hot coffee, timbits on 2 long tables and about 20 pitchers of iced water on another side with disposable cups on the side (and the race had not even started for us yet). Julia, my 5 k clinic teacher from more than 2 years ago said hi. I shook hands with Francois and hugged Sylvia, 2 other runner friends. Had a chat with Jason (Boston qualifier) about his last ironman race and noticed his unique black casual Rockport shoes (which looked more like dress shoes)that he said he and a dozen other runners were to run with. He said he got the shoes for free and tried it on an 11k run and it felt comfortable. Shoes must be alright because Jason finished 13th out of 623 in 40:35. Greeted Keri and Deborah, ex-half marathon clinicmates, then Nette (Hanneli)(my running partner, who beat me by 25 minutes in our last marathon, got her this time around by a minute more or less, babaw ng kaligayahan no, :) joined us with her husband Fidel who was to run the race too.

10 minutes before the race, Nette, Fidel and I did a warm up run at the back of the clubhouse. Visited the washroom one last time as Nette and Fidel proceeded to the start area. Gulped in a cup of cold water as I saw by the clubhouse window runners already running after the start gun had fired. ran to the back of the field of runners and the race was on.

Ran the first 2ks in 11:45, 5k at 29:05 and faded (again) around the 7k mark. Water stations with plenty of provisions and volunteers were strategically located in the entire race course. Did not need to carry a bottle of gatorade. Ended up finishing in 1:01:21, another failed attempt to break the one hour barrier. High fived Deborah (51 minutes and change) and Fidel (59:58) and gave away my bib number to Nette for another friend to use for free lunch as I had to pass and go straight back home to have lunch with Denise, who was just staying with us till the afternoon.

Disappointed initially, but at the same time happy to improve my time over my last 10k race (the Francorun 10k) which I did in 1:05:59. Contented to better my time on my second Angus Glen 10k. My first was on a time of 1:02:42. We runners could always twist a failure into a triumph, ha ha.

My next race is the Whitby Waterfront 10k on November 22, 2009.