[ HELL: 16 Aug, 6 am to 6 pm ]
Hellish. Hellacious. Infernal. Whatever you want to call it, I just knew it was going to be a dreadful day. The numbers on the wall (er, scale) said it. I had gained a whopping 5 lbs. since my fainting incident 26 days ago. I was close to gaining back all the weight I lost through running! For the past month, I had stuffed myself silly with every salty meal that crossed my path—and that would mean quite an amount because I had intentionally stopped at every grocery to plunder their junkfood aisle—in an effort to increase my abnormally low blood pressure and avoid another fainting episode. As I stared at the scale over my protruding belly, I felt a little woozy about those horrible numbers and I thought “Has all my running been put to waste?”
Me and my bloated self sulked all throughout the stormy day. I had even missed my Virtual Run No. 4 earlier in the morning so I had nothing to pull some running inspiration from. I planned on running on my home treadmill but I could barely put my shoes on. “What for?” I thought.
For the first time since I started my love affair with running, I had serious doubts about him. With James Ingram playing in the background (okay, I’m kidding), I wondered if he could still give me what I needed from this relationship. Was I giving too much without getting back anything in return? Despite the pain from my broken heart, I pushed myself to overcome the disappointment and climbed unto the treadmill for the longest 5k of my life.
[ HEAVEN: 16 Aug, 6 pm onwards ]
The Mizuno Run Club was going to start at 7 pm. By 6 pm, I still couldn’t decide if I should drive all the way to Bonifacio High Street for what I thought would be a mere 3k run. At that point, I was still in a demoralized/lethargic state. “What the hell, I’ll go anyway. It beats watching the evening news.” I thought.
I arrive at the scene to see the same group of elite runners that were present last week. Where were the other beginners? It was just me, Tricia, my college friend and fellow H@ppy Feet member, and Mandy, a boxer/runner I met that evening who were relatively the only beginners present. Oh, did I mention we were the only women too?
Hey, wazzup wazzup?! It was a pleasant surprise to finally meet Unang Hirit host Drew Arellano who is a runner and aspiring triathlete himself. I slapped myself on the head for leaving my camera at home that day. (Drew, if you’re reading this, could you please just send me a photo with your autograph on it? You could also send me some handgel because I haven’t watched the hand that you shook last night. Haha.)
Before the run, the fellows at Mizuno happily lent me the Wave Creation 8 that they recommended for my normal/high arch foot. Boy oh boy, as I dipped my feet into this shoe, I thought it fit my feet perfectly well. It was snug but not too tight, it was light, and it looked like a kick-ass racing shoe. I’ve been a New Balance fan for the longest time and, quite honestly, with Mizuno’s knowledgeable salesmen and outstanding shoe (sure beat my wide, bulky, heavy NB 1222’s), I was being converted. I was eager to test this shoe’s performance during the run. (Nope, this is not a paid endorsement!)
– Mizuno Wave Creation 8. You shall be mine. –
Coach Ige Lopez announces our route plan in which I hear the magic words “5k” (Woohoo, it’s a bit longer than I expected!) and “walang iwanan” (No one gets left behind. Thank God because the elite runners run twice my speed) and then we’re off. At first, the three of us are such girls—we chat, we laugh, and even scream as we cross the street amid fast-paced cars in the dark of the night. Then, as the gap increases between us and the other runners, we stop talking and start ruuuunnniiing. Before I know it, around 15 minutes into the run, I am running at race pace (or faster) in an effort to keep up with the last male runners before me. I have no idea where Tricia and Mandy are. Finally, I run along with the male runners and I’m pleasantly surprised to discover it is Jujet de Asis, the 3rd fastest runner in the country. Little ol’ me running along with Jujet! Oh, I must’ve looked crazy smiling from ear to ear.
We’re back at Mizuno in around 30 minutes. That one run gives me the much needed inspiration I was yearning for all day. I feel fitter, stronger, and last but not the least, lighter. (Rightfully so after two 5k runs that day!) Of course, I think that my showbiz encounter and run with Jujet added to the excitement.
I chat briefly with Coach Ige before leaving and he gives me two important tips:
1) It’s better to run on asphalt than concrete which can be hard on the knees and feet. He tells me that Alabang’s roads are made of concrete so I better start searching for a new playground. Gulp.
2) After asking Coach Ige if I should focus on increasing my 10k speed or increasing my distance to prepare for an eventual marathon, he advises me to focus on distance. He says that by building endurance with long runs, the speed for shorter distances will naturally follow.
Back home, I make a pact with myself to forget those nightmarish numbers on the scale. I’ll just scrap the junk (so so difficult for me) and eat properly. In my mind, I imagine myself on white, puffy clouds back in the arms of my beloved running! I am happy again. Aw, pure heaven.