On the Heels of a Dream: Week 15

Monday, 11 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

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.

The highlight of this week is me not being able to stand up from a sitting position. It wasn’t funny then (well. It was a little funny), it’s not funny now.

– Coach Jim Saret talks about strength conditioning, balance, and core for runners at Bull Circle 3 –



– TBR on TBR ULAH Dream Marathon –

At the Bull Circle last Wednesday, one of the things coach Jim Saret had us participants do was to do a move to show just how weak our bodies were – are still.  All I needed to do, with a certain body position, was to stand. My weak, non-marathon-ready knees did not perform. Good! It was a rude awakening to how much muscle balance and strengthening I need, along with dozens of other batchmates.




This on a night that I had a knee taped by a charmingly professional Rock doc named Ms. Carmela. At least I think they’re called Rock Docs because they’re experts at applying Rocktape, the best kenisiology tape around.

Rocktape (4)
– Getting taped with Rocktape at Bull Circle 3 –

This time around, Coach Jim shared a lot of tips and exercises on how to achieve a marathon ready body – precious information on my way to the Dream.

– with TBR and fellow Dreamers –

This talk by Coach Jim, was sandwiched by my two maintenance runs for the week – both 45 minuters – which I did on Tuesday and Thursday. For both, I had relatively little trouble completing them with a few bursts of faster-than-my-usual speed. Due to being obedient to the program, I found that what little progress I’ve made is starting to build up in terms of endurance. Even in tiny, almost imperceptible increments, improvement is still improvement. Just a couple of months ago, 45 minutes running was unthinkable for a morbidly obese Obbie. During this week, a lot of talk went around about who and how the upcoming Sunday marathon was going to go. In my ‘un-readiness’ for that, I had to stay the course of my own training.

My new experience for this week was the 2nd of my maintenance runs because it was the first time I tried running in compression shorts AND a Rocktaped right knee. As much of a newbie as I am, I felt the difference the right equipment makes. As a try-athlete (I know this is not my original coined term but I’ll use it anyway), any advantage afforded by something as simple as the right shorts is a big thing. I know I’d still hurl chunks at the sight of myself in a compression shirt and pants but, fortunately, I have a few months more to achieve a better shape (‘in better shape’ is different from ‘in a better shape’). Plus, serious runners (of which I think I can count myself as right now) prefer performance over aesthetics.

My weekend LSD was a different story. I had chosen to do it on a Saturday night in the vicinity of my wife and her friends having a night out. This week my marching order was to do 90 minutes and my chosen pace is my uniform slow 2:1. Running around a big circuit around the neighborhood, I went up and down on a relatively hilly course and completed it, surprisingly, fairly fatigue-free. I know it was the case because I didn’t have the sun bearing down on me. What made this run different though, was the aftermath. I cooled down, post-stretched properly, then rested. But, as I got up from my seat barely an hour after finishing my run, I felt pain in both knees which continued well into Sunday. Maybe not pain per se but a peek-a-boo kind of ache. After I had congratulated the participants of the Sunday morning marathon, I received tips, advice, and offers of treatment from doctor batchmates. Yes! The group is coming together in support of one another! So now, after a soothing Sunday night cold compress and hopes of it being nothing serious, the pain has virtually disappeared even as I have two new Doc friends waiting in the wings to help – everyone needs help, yes? Now as I prepare to retire for the night, me and my knees will go to bed safe in the knowledge that I will not go this alone. I’m with friends. I’ll say my prayers, follow my training program, then ask yet again: When’s the next run?

On the Heels of a Dream: One Run at a Time (Week 16)

Monday, 4 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

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.

Depleted. This is what I felt at the end of my 80 minute long weekend run. I never meant to be hard on myself but with so many of my batchmates joining 21K runs in a few weeks, I guess I’m entitled so some envy and a smidgen of doubt. I am, after all, human.

Even as I was busy deciding where to do my longest run yet, again my friend Joanne suddenly invited me to do the LSD with her in BGC. With no better plan, I said yes. A finisher of the previous Dream and a few 21Ks herself, she one of a handful of people I can expect realistic advise from and not doubt. If some time in the future, I am asked for advice, I would tell runners-to-be to have a running guardian angel.

By the way, earlier in the week, I did my two maintenance runs and one extra with a friend from work named Jino. Training is hard but I’ve developed a liking for it. Now I want my friend, who’s a Muay Thai fighter, to be in TBR Dream 2015. Online, I saw that numerous batchmates took advantage of the long holidays to go on vacays. Even away from home, quite a few still trained at the destination of choice. Among them was new friend Resty who still did his LSD up north, and Jah who ran from Lukban to Lucena. There’s also batchmate Catherine who ran in Nice, France! Im sure there were others in different places – Nothing stops a Dreamer!

– Batchmate Resty in Vigan! –

– Batchmate Jah ran from Lukban to Lucena –

Back to my weekender, I really wasn’t looking forward to finding out how hard an eighty minute run is – even partly walked. This is hard work. I know I was properly warned but still… Anyway, we were here for a reason and there wasn’t anything else to do but go run. So we did. I suppose it was a good thing we started a shade past 7 am because it would at least simulate the time of day of the real run. Again, the sun took its severely unwanted toll. For me, heat is a big enemy. But it was one to be conquered. We went left, right, straight – pretty much through most of the roads of BGC. My bud and I agreed to do 2:1 and at certain points she pushed, cajoled, clapped, and urged me on while I ran, jogged, walked, trudged, and zombied forward. She had the wisdom to set small destinations to push me, “Hanggang kanto, kaya mo yan”, “fast run hanggang kanto!” and various other methods.

Finally, after countless street corner turns, stretches of what seemed to me like a scorching sun, and thousands of heavy-legged steps, we were notified via watch that our 80 minutes was done. Taking a few cool down steps, to be perfectly honest, I was trying to recall WHY I WAS DOING THIS. What’s an out of shape, middle-aged Dad doing trying to run this? Right now, because my mind’s too tired to be rational, the answer seems simple: Because I still can. Quite frankly, I still can’t imagine being on my feet for 7 hours ( it’s not a sin to be optimistic). But, I’m willing to do it one run at a time. On to the next!

– I did it! –

On the Heels of a Dream: Bull Session 2…check!

Thursday, 31 October 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

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.

– Joanne and I –

– 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.