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RUNNING★HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

42

Next year I will turn 42.  So I am thinking that  it would be the best year to run a full marathon.  Do a 42km at 42 years old? Great, right?  Ambitious? Yes.  Impossible?  NO! Doable?  Yes.  But before I could do it I need to thoroughly prepare for this big event. What marathon to run–Condura, Run United, Dream Marathon? Will it be a trail or a road run? I have done 21km races, six to be exact; I’ve also run a 25km so I think I can definitely do a 42. It’s not really a question of whether I will be able to do it but when.  And I’m now toying with the idea that it has to be next year.   A perfect way to celebrate my 42nd year of existence.  Haha!

Ok so what preparations do I need? Physical preparations.  It’s a must to run at least three times a week, make weekend long runs with additional mileage each week so that 26.2 miles won’t be a surprise. Do combinations of slow and fast runs.  Do hill training.  Do trail running. Engage in plyometrics, core exercises, weightlifting. Join races with distances beyond 21kms to test my endurance and stamina.

Mental preparations. Think and anticipate the race.  It’s a marathon. 42 kilometers.  Truly, not an easy run. Imagine starting slow but finishing strong.  Time won’t be a problem, as long as I meet the cut off.  But I don’t want to be the last person to finish.  Ok, no big deal to be the last as long as I don’t get to be swept by race organizers because I didn’t meet the cut off time.  After the race, will definitely feel pain but if I’m physically prepared, pain will be tolerable and will be able to function and work the next day. No absence from work on a Monday. (I wish there’s a birthday leave, though.)

Will I run alone or with someone?  If I’m doing it alone, it’s ok, I’m used to being by myself anyway.  If I have someone, who will it be? We need to train together and go through all the preps needed for the big day. We have to consider our pace, strategies we need to employ come race day.

Five months before 2016.  Is this an ample time to be ready for a marathon?  I need to start looking for a plan and start working on it.  I need to read on experiences of first time marathoners. What to do with pesky blisters and black toenails every time I do long runs? Is there a hydration and eating (if any) plan I need to include in my training?

A marathon is really a serious life goal, at least to me. Imagine being called a marathoner, finally.  It’s a dream I need to fulfil soon. Hopefully, it happens next year.

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GIVE TRAIL RUNNING A GO

The running bug has probably caught most of us.  How many of us own singlets, medals, finisher shirts, and bibs attesting to the countless races and fun runs we have joined  throughout  the years? Well road running is indeed fun and continue to be popular. But doing runs in the same venues with the same organizers made me consider running outside Manila and try trail running.  So this year I have ventured in two runs which is a combination of road and trail running.  I actually had two reasons for signing up for trail running—I wanted to see these places and I want to experience something new.

March 15, 2015 Corregidor International Half Marathon 10k Challenge

This was supposed to be a January event but was moved due to the visit of Pope Francis.  What’s great with the CIHM 10k Challenge?  I was awed and humbled by the sights around Corregidor Island.  10k runners passed through barracks, batteries.   As I was running I was imagining myself with those Filipino and American soldiers during World War 2 waiting for the war to finally end.  The race course featured a lot of hills, a short trail, loops.  It was a great feeling running quietly all by myself at some point in the race.  Next year, I plan to join the 21k run.  CIHM is a run I can truly vouch for.

June 28, 2015  Valley Trail Run of Frontrunner Magazine

I participated in the 15k run, the others being 30k and 50k.  My run was only in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna consisting of grassland, muddy trek, some ascent and descent.  The longer races went all the way to Batangas.  Running through an unfamiliar route was both exciting and scary, but it was the excitement that made me finish the race in 2hrs 9minutes.  I had to be careful traversing through slippery parts of the race, and had to wade through water.  Passing through grassland with only ribbon markers made me run after the runner in front of me because I feared getting lost in the trail.  If I’m not mistaken, there’s a part two of this trail run in September with 21k, 42k and 100k. Valley Trail is indeed a good way to shift to trail running.

Why you should try trail runs?

a. Scenery—It’s literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air. New scenery, no pollution coming from vehicles with drivers who can’t wait till you’ve crossed the street. No buildings, instead a lot of green, and a clear view of the sky and sea.  Imagine the thrill of getting to your race destination and being there and running there for the first time.  This is also a way to de-stress  and take a break from our hectic lives. Trail running is a perfect getaway—going to your dream destination and running there.

b. Different thrill and excitement—Trail running is running off road and experiencing dirt and other elements in the usually untaken path. Thus one has to be more cautious whether to really run fast or take it a little bit slow since you’re not sure of what’s ahead of you.  Also one gets to wear different shoe type and gear.

c. Other skills are honed and tested—Since this is a solo run you will really rely on no one else but yourself. I take trail running then as a race against our worst enemy—ourselves.  Can I finish this race?  Do I have the energy and the stamina to go through the finish line? These are some of the many questions I asked myself during those runs.  One needs to make careful descent and ascent as you don’t want to hurt yourself along the route. There are times you need to hop and/or jump.

d. It’s safer and more beneficial to the body—Running in pavement and concrete according to experts will eventually have its downsides and they say that trail running is definitely better. The impact done to our feet is lesser in trail running, thus results to lesser injuries and pains. Trail running also calms our souls as we get to commune with nature.  I am sure that after a trail run, no matter the distance, we all come back to our homes refreshed and relaxed.  Our perspectives on things are also altered.

So with all these reasons, why not sign up for your first trail run? I’m sure it will be truly memorable and a whole lot of fun. I hope to see you in the next trail.

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Running Weird and Free

Races are fun.  They are inspiring.  At times races can be weird, too.  I am not talking about the themes of these running events, I am talking about runners who draw the most attention.  I am recalling the weirdest runner’s behaviours I have seen in the races I’ve joined. Some are funny, others are simply irritating, you decide.

  1. Running with a whole bunch of bananas.  I’m not kidding! Yup, we know bananas are good for runners. Some races do give away bananas aside from water and sports drink as part of the hydration and aid station.  But bringing a whole bunch of bananas in a run, while running. Couldn’t imagine how this runner will eat all bananas and run at the same time.  What about the peels, where will they end up? Weird, right?  Dangerous, too.
  1. Running with a big bottle of Gatorade. We are advised to bring our own hydration.  Hydration that will be enough to sustain us throughout the race. This is why there are a lot of hydration products to choose from—vest, handheld, or belt.   Too little and too much hydration is bad.   Thus, I think one big bottle of Gatorade is weird to gulp throughout the entire race. Plus the difficulty of carrying it with you in your run.
  1. Running with a long umbrella. It was a gloomy day for a run.  So how did one runner deal with     She brought an umbrella, not a pocket, but the sturdy type.  Running with something on your person can be cumbersome, what more with a heavy umbrella.  What do we do then if it’s raining on the day of the event?  Well, we just run.  Running in the rain is actually fun.
  1. Running with a Starbucks coffee. Really?   I am not making this up! Who doesn’t love Starbucks? Most of us do. In fact, there are people who couldn’t let a day pass without their favourite cup of joe from this ubiquitous coffee house.   But bringing one to your run.  Come on!  How can you run with a hot cup in your hand? Are you not afraid of being scalded?
  1. Running a 5K in a complete “battle” gear. We want to feel that we are runners in the true sense of the word, thus we get the latest running gear and gadget.  But I think running a 5k doesn’t require a hydration belt, compression tights, Garmin Forerunner, and all other gear that’s in the market just for us to be called runners. Remember, you’re running a short distance, not doing an ultra.
  1. Running with no shirt. Running in the Philippines is a “hot” undertaking. Hot here refers to the weather.  You could just be running for 30mins yet it feels like a one-hour run because  you sweat buckets. But removing your shirt. Duh? Is this to show your abs, or make others envy how fit you are?  What happens to the bib and the race shirt? Do these runners need to be told to cover up.

These are the weirdest runners I’ve encountered. How about you?

Running Solo and Loving It

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lung.”– Jesse Owens

I couldn’t agree more with the Great Jesse Owens.  And I think this is the real beauty of this sport.  You don’t need anyone or anything really.  You just need a road to run, of course, a pair of running shoes, (You can even run barefoot!) and you’re good to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I love running with other people, I even have a running buddy, and met new friends through running. But I still love the idea that I can run without anyone.  I don’t have to think of anyone who will wait for me in case I’m too slow.  I don’t have to think of anyone when I get up too early in the morning because I am a morning person and I do things better in the morning.  I just have myself when things get tough and rough, also when things are way, way better.

There’s no one to blame if I don’t win in a race.  No one to ask if I want to run a 5k or do a full marathon.  No need to get anyone’s consent  if I suddenly decide to do trail running or even an ultramarathon of 55k. There’s no group of people to play with, nor a coach who will decide the team’s play.  I am my own person.  I call the shots.  I decide when to run, where to do it, and how to finish it.

Running doesn’t need any fancy equipment.  No balls. No court.  No expensive racket.  I can even run without those compression socks or too pricey running shoes and gear.  I repeat–all I need is a pair of running shoes.

I think that all these are reasons why running is the best sport for introverts like me.  I can be on my own.  NO need to think of what to say to my companion or think about how s/he’s feeling because there’s no one with me anyway.  In other words, I am a free spirit. And how comfortable is that!

For renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami who confessed that he is not afraid to be alone says, “The desire in me to be alone hasn’t changed. Which is why the hour or so I spend running, maintaining my own silent, private time, is important to help me keep my mental well-being.” I share the same feeling.  Running is a time for me to be alone, with my thoughts.  This is something I look forward to sustain me throughout the day, to keep me sane.  So when you see me running alone, I am not avoiding anyone, I am doing my “me” time. I need it.

Confessions of a Slow Running Person

Confessions of a Slow Running Person.

Confessions of a Slow Running Person

Several days ago, I read another article on the differences between a runner and a jogger.  The writer listed a series of criteria to know if one’s a runner or a jogger.  AS much as I would like to comment that labels shouldn’t really bother us, I never did thus I’m writing my thoughts here.

I said I don’t really mind the labels.  I am happy to be called a jogger because I am not really a fast runner.  I do train if I’ve signed up for a race, but my training is not that rigid, compared to those suggested by running experts and coaches.  I try to run on  a daily basis, but they last only for 30 minutes.  I make it a point, though, that I have long runs during the weekends which last for one hour.

I have joined a number of races from 3ks to 25k run.  NO full marathon yet.  I don’t know if I will be able to finish such a really long, long run.  I want to do it slowly, and prepare for this great marathon which I hope to participate in one day by adding to the number of kilometres I have finished.

Just like other joggers, I eat whatever I fancy. Though I know the benefits of sticking to a healthier diet, I know that my life will be happier if I indulge in sweets and other non-healthful foods once in a while, and in some days, more than once.  I bake and love sweets, chocolates, coffee and I acknowledge that life would really be a dread without having them in my life. To compensate, I start the day with a warm glass of lemon juice without sugar, and end with a light meal of salad and fruits.

Just like other runners, I try to add to my workouts incorporating yoga and core exercises.  Sadly, I don’t swim or bike.  So the only non-running activities I can do to help strengthen my body are those said exercises.  I do them after my daily runs.

In every starting line, one can find me always at the right side, in the middle of the pack, because again, I am a confessed slow runner.  Of course, I do feel threatened by these fast runners who start strong, and are able to sustain their energies throughout the whole race.  I also try to emulate it but slower than these people.  I start slow, try to run the entire course, and finish strong. Strong here means running till the finish line and trying to beat my previous time.

There are days when I am successful and days also when I slack off. There are days too when I feel I just want to have it done and over with, thankful that I haven’t resorted to a DNF (did not finish).  And I think this is the main reason why I start and run slow.  I fear not finishing a race which I’ve prepared for.  I fear not being able to walk after a race.  I fear being taken in an ambulance because I’m not fit  to run anymore.  I fear my mother getting a weird, early morning call from a stranger saying that her daughter is in a hospital due to a running injury.

I have accumulated a number of medals from all the races I’ve joined and all of them are proudly displayed at home.  I’ve kept also the race bibs to remind me of these races I’ve ran.  Not to mention the singlets and finisher shirts which have outnumbered my other clothes.

To add up to my running experiences, I have also joined trail events, which bring me to other places I’ve never been to.  And I’ve to admit trail runs are more exciting.  Imagine running for the first time in an unknown place?

So am I a runner or a jogger? Does label really matter?  I don’t mind if people call me a jogger or a runner.  I am a jogger because my pace is not from  4 to 6.  I am a runner because I run whenever I have the chance.   It doesn’t hurt if I’m called a jogger and am happy if called a runner. It doesn’t really matter.   What’s important is I know myself, my capabilities, my strengths, and weaknesses.  Most importantly, I know that I will be running as long as I live, as long as I can.

Why Blog?

I have always loved the written word. I love writing essays, though not publishing them anywhere.  I love reading.  Then one day I came across an invitation from a sports site asking for contributions on any fitness and health topic that interests me.  One of the things I needed to fill out in the form is whether I own a blog, and I had none. Thus the idea of finding  a blog site where I can publish these essays I intend to contribute somewhere in the future became a necessity.  I hope to write about topics which I really enjoy like reading, running, baking, dieting and maintaining  a healthy lifestyle.  I hope to read on other blogs as well, and learn and grow as a writer and reader.

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