Exercising has always been a part of my daily activity. Through exercise, I gained friends who support and believe in the benefits of being fit, but I was never passionate about running. In one of our regular gym meetings, my friends started talking about it. We began running on the treadmill and testing each other’s endurance. At some point, the treadmill felt routine and we talked about joining fun runs. The first one I joined was the 2009 Cebu City Marathon. I registered for the 5K. During that run, I felt awkward and thought it was like joining a procession. I joined another run after that, but it still did not spark an interest in me.
Then in 2010, the fuss of the Cebu City Marathon in January inclined my gym group to register again. There, we registered for the 10k. For some reason, we all had a great time and it didn’t matter where we placed, what mattered was that we finished the run. We continued to join other running events and I even went to Manila with my friend Sheila to join the Condura Skywalk Marathon. The fulfillment of finishing was a thrill in itself.
Then in July 2010, the St. Therese College (STC) alumni group organized a run and I decided to join. I originally registered for the 8K open, but one of my friends advised me to join the 5K with the rest of the alumni instead. Much to my surprise, I ended up garnering the #10 finisher for that category. I must have been the only golden girl that got an award; the other winners were much younger than me. This inspired me to ask my friend, Mai-mai, about her coach. I wanted to be formally trained and that’s how I met Jeffrey, an elite runner. I scheduled training with him on a regular basis. While training, I was also reading books and learning the definitions of tempo running, easy run, fast run and pace. I could also relate to the lessons; running your own race, the fulfillment of a runner to reach the finish line and applying the power of the mind – all these concepts thrilled me.
When 2011 came along, I was determined to finish the 21k at the Cebu City marathon. Due to my excitement, I was one of the first to register in that category, the #3 registrant. I tried to convince my friends to join as well, but they initially had their apprehensions. I told them we needed to aim high and face the challenges on whatever we were doing – be it in running or in the rest of life. After much haggling, they, eventually, agreed and we started training for the big race! We would run together in the early hours of the morning. We ran in Ayala, IT park, the Abellana Oval, and all over Cebu. It was breathtaking to see the quiet empty streets and to take in the fresh morning air.
The big day finally came. It was the farthest I’ve ever ran, but I pushed hard and willed myself to finish. I was extremely happy with my performance as I placed #120 out of 295 women runners for the 21k. The experience taught me and my group to be determined in our goals. It was an amazing experience.
All of these seemed to happen so fast. It seems just like yesterday, I was worried about running a 5k. Now, I am proud to say that I am a half-marathoner. I find myself endlessly sharing my experiences to friends and they always comment on the glow on my face as I share my stories. It seems my enthusiasm shines when I share my feelings of being a runner. It shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, I am happy doing it. The funny thing is I only realized this now that I am in my “senior” years. Nevertheless, for as long as I am able, my running activities continue.
“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.”
Running has given me a totally new outlook in life and I believe that regardless of age there will always be room for thinking bigger, pushing ones limits and making the impossible a reality.