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.


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  2. after running 21K in the QCIM here in Manila, the flu virus caught up with me. And I missed running in SIM because of it. But after 2 weeks of no run and all rest... I conquered the PIM. I did not finish on the time I envisioned, but I made sure that I finish the race no matter what.

    just rest for a bit, Mr Bong Pagong... =)

  3. Rest and recover soon Sir Bong. When in pain or sick and unable to run, we runners really miss the runs as if we're missing half of our lives. Sounds funny but true.

    I am with you Sir. I cannot run for now and the coming days. Just having rest and recovery especially for the painful right knee. I am really touched by your comments regarding my marathon run. Thank you!

    Tell us when you're healthy and running again Sir Bong. For now, just relax, rest, take it easy, enjoy other stuffs.

  4. Get well soon, Bong. Chill and enjoy the rest period. Don't worry much, you'll soon be back on the road before you know it =)

  5. Hi Bong. Fortunately, it's not the swine flu. Definitely better to rest up than to continue training and it gets worse. You won't lose much conditioning. I just started back running after a six day break. Please take care my friend!

  6. Rest is the best friend of a runner who recently did a full marathon. :D Get well soon, Bong.

  7. I agree with the soup Bong, and the magic of royco, royal and skyflakes (meron ba nito diyan?). Wala nang sasarap pa sa vicks na haplos ni nanay. Rest easy, baka mabinat pa.

  8. Thanks RodRunn3r. Congrats for finishing your PIM. Nice to hear that somebody who had the flu was able to finish a full marathon because I will be running a 10k race in 10 days time.

    Hey Jayson! Enjoyed reading your latest posts so much. Don't you think it's time for you to go to the next level by joining a running club? It may help you if you're aiming to improve your times considering you're a naturally fast runner. It's just an idea.

    Hi Cathy! Thanks for visiting. I still read your posts regularly and enjoy your stories and pictures.

    Thanks Jet! I still think about your courageous run at the SIM whenever I see your name. I think I am well enough now to start running again on Saturday.

    Lucky it's not the swine flu Wayne. Nevertheless it's still a flu, and it got me good, that caused me to stop my runs (missed 3 so far), miss 5 days of work, and made me feel my real age again. Being a runner makes each one of us feel younger than his age :).

    Hi Roselle! Thanks. I read your first marathon story too, and what an experience this first marathon for all of us who did it for the first time this year. I now feel like a new member of an exclusive fraternity (of marathon finishers) and whenever I read stories, like yours, of runners completing their first marathon despite cramps and other physical problems, it's like welcoming new members to his brotherhood/sisterhood of runners. I am still resting but I can't wait till Saturday when I will do my first slow run from more than a week ago.

    Tama ka Vener, wala nang tatalo sa alaga ni nanay. Skyflakes meron, pero Royco and Royal wala. Sarap ng Vicks sa dibdib at likod lalo na kung si nanay ang nag-aalaga. I read and enjoyed your post on your last marathon race, PIM. Bilis mo talaga. And you're so consistent. Have you ever thought about aiming for a Boston qualifying time? Siguro reasonable goal ito, kasi natural na mabilis ka naman. Just a thought.

  9. Hey Bong,
    I hope you are feeling better now. Don't worry about the 10K race on Nov 22, you can do it but don't expect to produce a PR. Or if you are still not feeling well by then, I will gladly run the race for you as Bong Ortiz... :) :)
    See you soon!
    - Nette

  10. Hi Bong,
    I have not visited many blogs these past weeks. And so what I did for the most part this afternoon was to visit some old blog friends and read up on their past posts.

    So sorry to hear you have been sick. But today is already Nov 22 here in our country, and I wonder if you are well enough to run in that Marathon...

    Well, I am sure you will tell us about it.

    I enjoyed reading your past posts, and seeing Yuki wearing that Minnie Mouse costume.

    Couldn't help but smile when I read that comment about Royco, Royal and Sky Flakes, and Vick Vaporub haplos ni Inay, haplos ng pagmamahal. For me, when I was young, my mom would give me arrozcaldo, seven Up, and Horlicks...do you remember horlicks? They were my favorite, but for many years now, they have not been available.

    Well, just know I am praying for you. May I give you my unsolicited, simple piece of advice when sick... embrace that time of weakness, Bong. Listen to your body, care for it, of course, and give it the rest it is asking for... but also, use the time of weakness to draw strength from One who alone is always strong...God our Father. I hope this does not sound corny to you... I just felt like sharing it with you.


  11. Hi Lidj! Thanks. I'm just back from another 10k race, the Whitby Waterfront 10k, and came across your comment, which gave me so much joy. Thanks for your prayers. It could have been the difference why I did so well in this race despite having this bout with the flu lately. This morning while driving to the race site, I prayed and thanked him for making me well and whole again. Thinking about Pacquiao's words too that it is his faith in God that helped him win against the best boxers in the world lately, I asked Him to guide me and make me run this race well. He did not disappoint because I think I ran my fastest 10k race this morning. I'll find out tomorrow if that's the case when the race results come out.