My affair with running did not at all come naturally. It was a trial and error that started in 2009. 8 years have gone by and I can definitely say that my on going “affair” with running is a consistent love and hate relationship. I love it because of its flexibility – I can do it anywhere, anytime I want to. At times, I dislike it because once it becomes a part of your lifestyle, there is no turning back. It is a commitment to get up, put on your running shoes and hit the pavement.
(Read: Benefits of Running)
As early as 2010, I have been joining fun run events but limited myself to 5kms and 10kms. Late 2016, I decided to up my game and train myself to do a half marathon. Hence, I created the hashtag, #babystepsto21km to remind me not to rush myself. In long distance running, it is important to build endurance. How do you it? Increase your mileage. From running two cycles of 6 kilometers each week, I added another cycle – with each cycle covering 10 kilometers. (A lot of downloadable training schedule suggest running four times a week but given my daywork, I can only squeeze in three sets.) In building endurance, it is equally important to strengthen your muscles to sustain stamina in running long distances so, I would lift weights and exercise my legs twice a week. In between, I continue enjoying healthy meals, keeping in mind that I must eat just enough protein and carbs.
My marathoner colleagues consistently encouraged me to join a race since it would be a good motivation to keep on training so on my second month of training, I gave in. I signed up to 7-Eleven Run 2017 because of two things – it is one of the few races that has 16kms and it is in Skyway.
The first hurdle for me was gunshot was too early, at 4:30a.m. Based on experience, parking slots become scarce on events like this thus, I try to be in the venue one hour before the race starts which meant for the 7-Eleven Run, I arrived at Alabang Town Center as early at 3:30a.m. It was the longest wait for a gun start and I kept staring at my legs, mentally telling them not to fail me. My goal was really not to finish fast but to do my first-ever 16km without any injury. A pretty decent goal, if I must say so myself.
Beginners tend to dash off the starting line and use up their energy right away. I know because I was once too excited to be ahead of everyone too but this time, I was careful to pace myself. Skyway is what my marathoner friend calls a flowing route – uphill, downhill, repeat- and due to elevation, it was windy and I was running against it which demanded additional effort.
Running is mental where you always challenge yourself to push harder, to keep pressing on but come on, everybody needs entertainment once in awhile. At that time, I hummed a song and planned the next five years of my life in between. Not long after or two hours and one minute after (See 7-Eleven Run 2017 Race results here), I saw the Finish Line and boy, it was the most wonderful sight I had ever seen!
Months of serious training earned me a medal but more than that, it was a beautifully different experience but it does not end here because the real goal is to run continuously until I surpass 21km and conquer 42km.
I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn-out, and sweat-purged. I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud.