pounding pavement

i’ve never actually had a sport before. i remember i used to play soccer when i was in 5th grade and then some volleyball too. the volleyball actually stretched through high school, where we would make up excuses not to have class just to squeeze in a game right before it gets dark (our school runs on shifts, day and afternoon). but in both cases, i felt i never really owned the sport that much, and i never really were good at them. don’t even ask me about basketball.

today, i finished my first official 10km run and it feels great.

i saw the Men’s Health Miracle Run on the magazine over a month ago and thought that maybe i could do this. i was going to the gym anyway and was not doing the classes that much anymore anyway so i thought, why not? not like i never knew how to run, but i thought i could use a
little tuning up, since it is still 10km. i never knew how long a kilometer was really until after i tried the treadmill. the first few times, it was tough doing the treadmill for at least 30 minutes a day almost every other day; at least i got my music to keep me sane and keep me going during those times. the first week started slow, as any beginner would, i suppose. i ran about 5km in total for the whole week. i gradually picked up the pace as the weeks went by, at the most i made it to almost 30km in total for a week. i felt proud of myself that i could do such a feat, knowing that i still was smoking all those days (although i did cut back on a few sticks here and there on occassion) and the best part about it, i always tell myself, was that once my body got used to it, i could eat whatever i wanted without necessarily packing the pounds.

i kinda knew i should be running on actual ground rather than on a treadmill since the surfaces aren’t actually the same when it comes to the actual race. i got to prove this about two weeks ago, my first 5km run. the Ayala Group sponsored a fun run for all its affiliates and our company was already part of Ayala then. at least i was able to try it on actual ground, and i think it is indeed a lot easier to go the distance compared to doing the treadmill. my personal record for the
5km: 24 minutes. not bad, i thought to myself. i just had to slash about 10 minutes from it and then i’d have my own world record. like, how long could 10 minutes really be? kidding. but still, compared to other beginners, i think, at that event, it was pretty decent.

this morning, waking up from a mild throbbing headache and the nagging feeling of throwing up and/or shitting, i faced my first 10km. i mean, i was confident that i could finish it, but how long it would take me was more like my real concern. and the drinking spree last night for rudy’s flight back to dubai on monday certainly didn’t help. at most i just wanted to finish it and do it in less than an hour.

we drove off to the venue at UP Diliman. i was not expecting that many people would join, but apparently, the magazine does have its sizable loyal base of readers just like me. it was nearing the end of the registration when i still had to grab my race kit, so i pretty much stayed at the back of the pack on the starting line. i rested for a few days before today so i figured i would have to start at a relatively slow pace first and build up. i practically jogged the first two kilometers, not only because the people who were around me kinda scrunched up in small groups which blocked the whole road, but also i was trying to untangle my headset to get my beats up
in my head to help me pace my steps. that did take the whole two kilometers but after i got the music on, i knew it was time to put my game face on too.

building up the pace, i breezed through the first half of the race, taking only two water stops. we had to actually run the whole 5km course twice to make it 10km, and i was glad that i wasn’t lagging among the 10km runners. as far as i knew, as long as there’s a lot more people running behind me, i’m on a pretty good pace. i clocked in the first half at about 29 minutes. i was five minutes off my first 5km but i knew i was doing okay since i had to do it over again. i had to save my energy to actually last the whole freaking race.

after i crossed the 5km line, i noticed that there were a lot fewer runners then. i’m not sure if some of them stopped or were walking, but i just kept on going. i knew walking was not going to help me, for some reason if i try to actually slow down now to a jogging pace, my feet take more impact at a lesser distance. i’d rather take the same amount of stress and/or pound it harder and do the distance. the hard part of it was keeping up that pace on the uphill slopes. what’s worse was that the sun was right in front of you, so you can’t really look straight ahead. at least i kinda knew that already since i was running the course for the second lap already.

the last kilometer was the most fun. you can see the other runners at the end already and the finish line comes nearer with every step. you try to pick up the pace for a more challenging finish and before you know it, you’re already there.

today, i finished my first official 10km run in 58 minutes and it feels great. i take that back, it feels awesome. i think i have finally found something i could really do. i’m not in it to actually compete. i don’t think i can until after a few more runs, and the fact that i started late in the game would put me at a disadvantage compared to more seasoned hardcore runners at the same
age group. i think i would compete with myself at best. this is certainly a sport that would measure just how far you could push yourself. and i sure want to find out just how far i could go.

so what do i do?

i run.


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