On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.
One month – this is how long the 2014 Batch of Dreamers have been ‘officially’ training marked by Bull Session 2. At this point, the training has been supposed to allow us to run-walk continuously for 70 minutes. After chatting with some of my batchmates and engaging them in some form, I found out that a lot of them have been running for years already. They’ve done 10Ks, 21Ks, and in-between distances. For a lot of them, this 70 minute run isn’t that much of a challenge. For me, it’s a big one. I’ve let my health degenerate over the years that being on my feet for 70 minutes under the sun is a feat. Those thirteen or so years of smoking 3 packs a day have taken their toll and I’m hard-pressed to reclaim what’s been taken away.
The two maintenance runs that preceded the Bull Session weren’t any different from the other maintenance runs but they were two more points on the board in scoring for consistency. It’s not that they were negligible but rather just doing them added a little bit of uniformity in the effort and keeping the calories burning and the muscles stretched and conditioned. A small variation was that I ran them on the road along a declined/inclined circuit in my neighborhood. My previous place – Capitol Commons – had become too short. Hah! Too short! I never thought I’d say that about any route I’d take! Even as the term maintenance sounds too perfunctory I’d like to think that each and every run adds confidence however small. When I coached basketball decades ago, I remember always telling my team that games are won in practice. This time I get to take my own advice.
At the Bull Session, this one was markedly different from the first one in that the air was lot warmer, friendlier, more festive. Batchmates who’ve kept in touch online got to chat face-to-face and establish an actual connection to the faces. Even with my bad eyesight, I got to respond to several greets. A lot of the batchmates I’d met only digitally even volunteered in person to pace me.
For this session, I was in Group 6 – the second 2:1 group. After the pack As I am wont to do, I fell back in the pack but didn’t stop at any point. I got to meet and chat during the run with several people – two of whom were a 6-ft tall Luis Manzano look-alike named Chal, and a fellow named Arvin. They were the sweepers of the group who provided a lot of cheerful encouragement. At some point I lost my running buddy Joanne but there were Ms. Jo and Jojo – lovely ladies who distracted me with chat – enough to keep my mind off the minutes that lay ahead. There was also Mr. Evan who people referred to as Smiley and Ms. Macel who kept pace with everyone on her trusty Segway so she could visit with virtually all the groups.
– with Joanne, Chal, and Arvin –
After what seemed to me longer than 70 minutes, the pack was herded by our sweepers back towards where we started. Surprisingly, it was over. Ms. Jo chatted me into the home stretch and we found ourselves putting our 2nd Bull session behind us. Chalk one up for persistence. After post-run hydrating, the whole group went through a pictorial where everyone was in very high spirits. The mood was still in high energy – as if most still wanted to do another 70 minutes. Maybe next time. Bull Session no.2 – check. Two sessions down, three more to go.