License To Run

Wednesday, 5 December 2007  |  Bullish Insights

So, I paid my doctor a visit yesterday. Until now, I don’t know how I should feel about his medical advice. Happy? Anxious? Relieved? Scared? Uhm…perhaps all of the above.


Dr. Rivera told me that my knee problem, the discoid lateral meniscus, needs no rest nor recovery. It’s a congenital problem that is and will be there regardless of the miles I run or don’t run. So, he basically gave me the license to run and train for the marathon. Woohoo!

What about the pain? The discomfort I’m currently feeling is due to the increased pounding on my knees as I train for the marathon. He prescribed a pain reliever before long runs or in case of any soreness or swelling.


Then, he went on to discuss what may have to be done after the marathon: arthroscopic surgery. Arthro what?! In this outpatient procedure, he will shape my D-shaped meniscus into the regular C-shape it should be. Recovery period would be six weeks. I’m not really fearful over the surgery, but more about the cost. Yikes, this won’t be cheap. (To my hubby: pretend you didn’t read this.)


I’m fearing the pain to come. For now, it’s bearable. It’s just a slight discomfort after a long or hard run. But, what if it becomes excruciating during the last few miles of the marathon? (Based on the high-intensity screaming and wailing I demonstrated during my normal deliveries with my two kids, it is proven that I have a very low tolerance for pain.) Will I be able to place mind over matter—or in my case, mind over meniscus?


Like most runners, I worried about hearing these two words “Stop running.” Thankfully, Dr. Rivera was a runner himself until he suffered a major injury that prevented him from continuing his passion. During the consultation, he spent a good five minutes wistfully recalling his L.A. marathon and how awesome it felt to cross the finish line. He said he wouldn’t deprive me of that.

So, here I am experiencing a grand mix of emotions unable to decipher if the news I received was bad or good. For now, I guess it’s good. The doctor ordered me to run, so that I shall do.

As for surgery day, now that’s another story…

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Monday, 3 December 2007  |  Bullish Insights

One year ago this month, I started running…and never looked back.

Last year:
– briskwalking for 30 mins on the treadmill was a great achievement for me
– 5km was a dream, 10km a long distance reserved for the elite
– “fun run” and “marathon” were synonymous
– “singlet” was, I would’ve guessed, a microphone a little bit smaller than the magic sing
– the only time I would sweat was when the aircon was off
– I would’ve opted to watch Paula Abdul rather than Paula Radcliffe
– I owned 1 pair of rubber shoes that were only worn with jeans
– I didn’t have any friends who ran (well, except for Mayi and Jamike who I bugged with tons of questions like “What do I wear to my first race?”)
– I only ate bananas when I had diarrhea
– Gatorade was a colored sports drink that tasted funny
– I would starve myself to lose weight (and it still wouldn’t work)

Since then, running has turned my life upside-down, inside-out, and transformed me into—what I would like to believe—a better, stronger, and happier me. Why didn’t I get into this sooner?


– My feet in my favorite Mizuno Wave Creations right before my first year anniversary run (taken ala E-rod)-

To celebrate my first year anniversary, Running and I took off for a 3-day stay in scenic Subic. I took the family along since my hubby might get jealous. (I’m kidding!) Every road we traversed in Subic beckoned me to run on them—near the airport, along the golf club, close to the bay—everywhere! Without any hint of my knee injury, I certainly had to give in to the beautiful roads’ whims. My hubby, a golfer who runs on the treadmill to maintain his fitness, decided to join in on the fun. (This was a wholesome threesome, mind you.)

We got up at 6 a.m., left the kids to my mom, and decided to go downhill from our place. A mere 5 minutes into our run, we reached a screeching halt. Two large dogs awaited us at the bottom of the road. At that point, it was a simple choice between rabies or to run uphill for our lives. We chose the latter.

We climbed up slowly but surely. I was wary of my knee while my hubby was getting his second taste of a ruthless road run he lacked training for. As soon as we reached the top, we plodded on exploring the vast new running course before us.

Barely catching our breaths from our close encounter with the dogs, we encountered yet another animal: a monkey closely watching us from the electric wires above. I was almost sure that monkey would pounce on me, grab my hair, and steal my Garmin (as discussed in our e-group) so I shut my eyes and ran forward.

Everything from then on went smoothly. We ran 6km at a modest pace and returned refreshed and invigorated. Soon after, we relaxed our tired feet along the sandy shores of Camayan beach and I fell asleep beside the photo of buddies Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey running half-naked in Miami. A great way to celebrate my 1st anniversary, don’t you think?

Subic Beach

– Just one of the four back issues of Runner’s World courtesy of Hitme that accompanied me on the trip –

Bad, Bad Day

Thursday, 29 November 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Whenever my 3-year-old daughter enters the car with me, this our dialogue:

Nia: “I need music, Mama.”
Me: “What song do you like?”
Nia: “Bad bad day. Number 18.”
Me: “Okay, You Had a Bad Day it is!”

Nia loves You Had a Bad Day by Daniel Powter.  My husband thinks the song is too negative, especially for a little girl to listen to on her way to preschool.  I like the melody so I never put much thought into it.  Until today…

Yup, I had a bad day indeed.

First, it took me two terribly long hours this morning to travel roughly a kilometer outside our village headed for my son’s school.  By that time, my son missed his school presentation and I was too pooped to complain.

Second, it’s been raining all day.  We have a trip planned for Subic tomorrow.  Will the weather have mercy on us and let the sun shine through?  Please.  Pretty please!

Last and definitely not the least, my knee is a bit sore again.  ARGH!  This time I am pissed.  In the beginning I was in panic.  Shortly after I was scared.  Now, I am just fuming.  (This bull is mad.)

Why am I not healed yet?!  I’ve been icing the injury thrice a day plus I got a massage last night.  I only ran an easy 5km all week.  (That’s a major sacrifice for me, you know?!)  I’ve been taking additional supplements that I’m hoping will help, but probably won’t make a difference such as calcium and vitamin B complex.  And, I’ve been religiously falling on my knees praying to the Saint-Who-Heals-All-Running-Injuries for a miracle.  Still, the meniscus irritablus knee problemus keeps on coming back like a nasty fly trying to land on your first post-race meal after a marathon.

So, next Tuesday, I have a date with my doctor to have this knee checked.  I’ll ask him if it’s actually feasible for me to run the marathon in February without asking for a wheelchair in the last 6 miles.  Pray for me, will ya?

For now, I shall continue to drown myself in my woes.  I shall continue to curse this wicked knee most especially for not allowing me to enjoy what would have been a beautiful long, slow run along the roads of Subic.  Sob sob.

Missed Milo—Again!

Sunday, 18 November 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Therapy + Injury

Race bib…CHECK
Brand spanking new mizuno outfit…CHECK
Fully charged garmin…CHECK
Packed bag with extra clothing…CHECK
Gatorade and banana…CHECK

Milo Nationals

As early as friday evening, I was all set to run 10k at the Milo race that was held this sunday morning. To say that I was excited about this race would be an understatement. I had missed the Milo Metro Manila eliminations last July due to a fainting spell, so this was my chance to finally experience one of the biggest races in the country. Surprise surprise, I failed to make it…AGAIN!

The reason: sheer stupidity and stubborness. (I don’t call myself THE BULL-headed RUNNER for nothing.)

I heard about the importance of tapering a hundred times over from Coach B to Higdon and Galloway’s books. But, due to my obstinateness, over-enthusiasm, and plain addiction to running, I couldn’t quite resist the urge to run the day before the race. I’m almost embarassed to admit it: 10km close to race pace on the eve of race day. Yes, that’s what I did. Yes, you may slap me on the head. Yes, I know I will suffer the dire consequences of breaking the golden rule of tapering.

Soon after that training run (or more like midway through it), I felt a pinch in the most vulnerable part of my body: my left knee which suffers from discoid lateral meniscus. This knee tells me when I’m overtraining. When it starts aching, it practically commands me to rest the next couple of days and gradually ease back into my training or else…or else…I don’t even want to go there. So, when I felt that slight discomfort around 5km into the run, my first thought was “No, it can’t be” (denial), then “No no no, I can’t miss Milo!” (panic) and within the next few minutes, “I shouldn’t have run! I’m so stupid.” (guilt).

By that evening, after a mid-afternoon massage that I hoped would magically heal my meniscus problem, I was in agony over the decision I had to make. Every inch of my body wanted to run. Weeks of LSDs and speedwork prepared me for this race. (In hindsight, I’m thinking the past few weeks’ training may have slowly built up this injury as well.) But, rationally, I knew I had to bite the bullet; I had to sacrifice the Milo race if I wanted to make it to my first marathon in February next year. Sob sob, goodbye Milo.

This coming week will be all about rest and recovery for me. I’m hoping against all hope that Santa comes down our chimney tonight delivering an advanced Christmas gift for me: instant mending of my broken knee. But, since that is most unlikely (they say Santa doesn’t exist, plus we don’t have a chimney), I’ll just try to be a good girl and patiently wait for this knee to heal.

To all those who joined the race, especially the finalists, congratulations! I hope to see you next year…barring any unforeseen circumstances that may strike a third time from keeping me from Milo races.

It’s a Boy!

Friday, 9 November 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Welcome the new member of our family. Finally, my hubby has gotten what he’s wished for all these months. A new Boy… Lazy Boy, that is.

Lazy Boy

This fine piece of furniture transformed me, quite regretably, into a Lazy Girl Potato. Suddenly, I found all this free time to watch television—something I hadn’t done in months—and work, blogging, and running were left by the wayside. I had good excuses, mind you:

– There’s a new presidential decree that states: All women whose names begin with J and are born in the month of May may extend the Halloween/All Saints and Souls Day Holidays by another 7 working days. Now, what was my source again?
– I had a bothersome cough complimented by a scratchy throat that left me with little energy to do anything.
– I was in recovery phase from all the running I did during Trick or Treating.
– I suffered from a minor infection, which my doctor said wouldn’t stop me from running, but doctors aren’t 100% correct all the time, right?
– I surmised that a 1-week Lazy Girl week was important for my pre-marathon conditioning. Er, who of you coaches would like to agree with me?

Anyhow, I’m glad to report that my Lazy Girl week officially ended during the Mizuno Run Club last night. I am so glad I went. It literally pulled me out of the slump I was in and injected some much needed energy into my system. (More on this in my next post.)

As of the moment, the Lazy Boy beckons. But, I remind myself of what Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner once said, “The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.”

It’s off to work I go. And, tomorrow, my long run with Annie.