The first time I tried running long distance was when I came out of a turbulent relationship. It was most fitting to spend hours exploring the remote part of the village at night and giving me time to think and meditate. Geared only in my non-running trainers and gym outfit sans an MP3 player, the silence and the isolation cleared up my mind of the day’s highs and lows. It was liberating to say the least. Plus it helped bring down my blood pressure to normal levels.
It was the last months of 2008 when friends from the gym started catching the running bug. So without even thinking of what I was getting into, I registered for my first ever long run – a 10 kilometer. The Unicef ‘s Walk on the Child’s Side gathered us runners on a Sunday early morning and before the sun could come out – we shoot out of the starting line. I had no idea how far we were going or how long I would last. But by the time we entered Heritage memorial park and seeing the expanse of the distance ahead, I knew I wasn’t going to make it.
Good thing I chanced upon a classmate from high school. Danny has been in the running circuit for a year now and as my ‘walking’ companion, he would help me exit the gates of Heritage park in one piece and even gain a second wind near the last kilometers of the race. By this time the adrenaline levels have gone down and one is left on his own to either join the crowd or set one’s pace, unmindful of all the female runners zipping by.
Perhaps, my competitive nature kept me going as I tried slowing down when the muscles tired down and suddenly bursting into a sprint when the energy returned. In between, I contemplated on all my faults and shortcomings and swearing to be a better individual once I get past the finish line. It was also a time to pray for all my loved ones, to keep them guided and sheltered always. These thoughts suddenly dart into my running stillness when I felt I wouldn’t make it and the angels would just suddenly scoop me to heavens.
Of course, I finish my first official run. At 1 hour and 7 minute, it was exhilarating and triumphant. But I thought I wouldn’t be doing this again. This was going to be my last. It was just stupid and foolish. Two months later, I was on my second race and I haven’t stopped running since then.