Group Running Gets Me Going

Wednesday, 9 May 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

Some runners love to run alone. Others can’t even run around the block if their running buddies are absent. When it comes to running, it doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you get the kilometers done.

I thought I would always be the happy lonely runner. I love running alone. I like the solitude, the silence, the opportunity to think without my clients or the kids hollering their next request. And I particularly like the fact that, when I feel the need to run, all I have to do is put on my trusty running shoes and head out the door or towards my treadmill. No need to set a play date with an entire team!

Call it fate or coincidence that I now find myself part of a growing runners group here in the South. Initially, it was just Coach B and I who ran together. I decided to invite a friend and she in turn invited another friend, and they plan to invite more of their gym buddies for future runs. The more the merrier!

Alabang

– the wide, paved roads of alabang make it ideal for training –

I never thought group running would be this much fun. This was the first time a ran a full hour without feeling like I had to be peeled off the road during the first 5k. Time certainly rolls by quickly when you are with other runners who are enjoyable to be with. And it is true that—just like in a sports team—you can feed off each other’s energy, push the other to work harder, or provide motivation to finish the last five minutes. Of course, I’m still going to run by myself, but group running will now get a larger share of my running schedule.

Meeting Coach B

Monday, 7 May 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

 Most runners will get by without a coach. After all, running is a very simple sport—put one foot in front of the other and go a bit faster than you would while walking. Even serious runners can just create their own running programs, train by their lonesome, and still end up winning a race.

However, as in any sport—or anything in life for that matter—it is still better to learn from a mentor/guide/teacher/coach. Someone who can impart all his knowledge so that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel. One who can motivate you, inspire you, and basically just get you out of bed when you’re feeling lazy.

My decision to get a coach was mainly because I was stuck in a rut. After finishing my first running program (courtesy of Runner’s World), I felt like I was running towards no particular destination. My next goal was to run a 10k but I had no idea how to get there. I tried a new 10k program (again from Runner’s World) but it was way too heavy for me. So there I was running my 5k with ease and not feeling any challenge on my body. I tell you, it was extremely frustrating.

Luckily, I chanced upon Coach Bernardo’s brochure for his running clinic during my son’s enrollment. I called him on his cellphone and impulsively registered for 10 sessions as soon as I dropped the phone.

Last week, the day after I recovered from a rather painful bout of intestinal flu, I met with Coach B at 530am for the very first time. I insisted we keep our run light since I was afraid of getting a relapse, so we talked for the most part and ran only 20 minutes. Admittedly, I was “bitin” but I didn’t want to push it.

This morning, I met Coach B for our 2nd run. To say it was great would definitely be an understatement. We ran for 30 minutes around Ayala Alabang and I had so much fun that time passed by all too quickly. He is definitely better company than my ipod shuffle—no matter how much I love that thing!

Coach Bernardo and Me

 – Coach Bernardo and I after our 30-min “medium run” –  

My Knee Says “Click”

Sunday, 6 May 2007  |  Therapy + Injury

New runners often make the mistake of running too fast too soon. I was certainly not an exemption. Imagine, I forced myself to run as long as 15 minutes at a time without any previous running experience. I hadn’t felt any pain so I thought, hell yeah, my body can take it, let’s go for more!

By mid-december (mind you, that’s just a week after I embarked on running as a sport), I was hearing tiny little clickety-clacks in my left knee every single time I bent it. Argh. It wasn’t painful but it was bothersome.

Emotionally, I was a nervous wreck. I had just found THE sport for me and I could see myself running till the day I died. If I was told to stop running because of a “silly little” knee problem, I didn’t know what I would do. (Although I’m pretty sure I would’ve instantly gained 10 lbs. due to depression and lack of activity.)

So, I consulted one of the most distinguished orthopedic surgeons in the country, Dr. Antonio Rivera. After a brief examination—bend your knee in and out, a twist to the left and the right, and questions on my history—he tells me I’ve got DISCOID LATERAL MENISCUS. Basically, I was born with a circular miniscus instead of a C-shaped miniscus so my knee cap doesn’t fit into its socket. Then he says “Now for the big question: can you still run?”

Wait a minute. How did he know what I was thinking? Was the anxiety in my face THAT obvious? With bated breath I awaited his answer.

“Continue running,” he says. Worst case would be surgery if it becomes too painful, but that’s a simple procedure that is almost always successful. I could’ve given him a giant hug at that very instant—only my husband was beside me.

Leaving the clinic, I was bursting with excitement for my bright future in running. Quoting from Dr. Seuss, “Oh the places you will go! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.” But in my case it would be “Oh the many many races I could join…and perhaps someday win.”

Mad About Running

Saturday, 5 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Favorite Posts

Runners

It’s the greatest high ever. To hear my feet beating down on the pavement in a drumlike, almost hypnotizing rhythm. To feel the wind brush against my face and smell its fresh breath kissing my cheeks. To reunite with Strength and Freedom, formidable friends I hope to encounter more often in life rather on these brief yet thrilling breakaways. To rediscover myself time and time again with only Bono’s voice crying out in the background “It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away…”

That said, you know now that I can get really dramatic when I talk about running. My first attempt at running non-stop for a measly 5 minutes was on the first week of December 2006 (yes, it was my version of a mad rush to burn calories before Noche Buena season arrived). By New Year’s eve, I knew I was insanely hooked.

I would talk endlessly about it with my Hubby—my record time, calories I burned, or new programs I discovered online—and I still do, but I know he’s getting sorely tired of this. My three best friends are happy for me but one is in New York, the other is pregnant, and another has just given birth. And my sister has willing ears but she doesn’t exercise so she cannot relate.

So who do I share this passion with? Who can I encourage to run (because, cliche as it sounds, it truly is the best way to get fit without spending a cent—or just a bit for great shoes)? And how else can I meet other runners (without having to manage a shy smile at the very few ones that I occassionally bump into while training)? With the click of a mouse, I realized I could reach anyone with a blog. So here I am.

Hope you can run with me (even just vicariously at this moment in time) and learn, together with me, about this fascinating world of running.