She wasn’t a state champ nor an athlete. The only time she would run was whenever she chased our big brown askal, Booger (my brothers named him), out of the house and into the street fearful of an attack on the neighbors. Regular exercise for her was hopping onto a blue, circular board that would have her twisting her body from side to side, probably the most fashionable form of waist-trimming in her day. She did not know a thing about sports (except for some trivia about Alvin Patrimonio perhaps) nor did she actively encourage her seven children, especially her youngest (that’s me), to take up any athletic activity.
But, as a runner, I’ve realized that, during the most challenging, painful, and arduous runs, the one who has influenced my thoughts and actions the most has been this woman who knew little about the sport I’ve come to love—my mom.
– Mom with Dad and all seven of us kids. I’m on my mom’s lap thinking of the many races I can run when I grow up –
There are a lot of things I practice in running that I learned from mom—not really through her words (she’s non-confrontational and soft-spoken) but through her actions:
- Don’t give up. Mom had her fair share of tough times, but she faced all her problems head on. Quitting was not in her vocabulary. As in any race, I try to not to DNF (Did Not Finish) unless there’s a major injury that needs to be dealt with.
- Be independent, but don’t be afraid to seek help. Mom was very busy with all seven of us, so I learned to care for myself early on. But, if I had a nightmare, problems at school, or work-related stress, Mom was always there to listen. In running, I’ve learned that runners will always have little aches and pains here and there. The key is injury management and learning to listen to your body to avoid aggravating the injury. But, whenever I feel things are getting out of hand, I don’t hesitate to seek advise from more experienced runners, my therapist, or my doctor. (Fine, there are times I may go overboard with the medical advice.)
- Be humble. Mom is the most humble person I know. I feel she should give herself a pat on the back more often for raising all of us kids, but she isn’t the type to call attention to herself or brag. Well, this blog kinda does the opposite as I’m compelled to talk about myself more often that I usually do in the real world. But, I try my best to be just like mom in this aspect.
- Pray. Dad and Mom were always in church. If not, they would be praying at their altar in their room. Every first week of each month, the whole family would do the rounds of churches in metro manila: Antipolo church, Baclaran, St. Jude, Mt. Carmel, and Quiapo on specific days. As a child, I used to resent this, but now that I’ve grown, I realized that it helped to keep my faith strong. Nowadays, it’s natural for me to turn to God in good times and in bad (well, more often when I’m injured during a race.) My favorite prayer: “Lord, please make the pain go away!”
- Believe in yourself. LIke any great mom, my mom thought that nothing was impossible for her kids. While she stayed at home to care for us, she gave us wings to fly and dream. She still can’t believe I run so much, she still worries about my knees, and she always tells me I’m getting too skinny. But, if I told her that I was running a marathon tomorrow, she would probably smile and tell me to go for it. Of course, she probably has no idea how long a marathon is!
Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mom! Love you!
Happy Mother’s Day to all other mommies—especially the running moms—out there!