Hello World! Now this is my first official blog entry since I crept under a rock and led hermit’s existence in the blogging world. Now that was eons ago (actually a little over 7 months) when I had my last run before taking a rest from the road and trail (though not necessarily as you will discover later). Basically, the entry timeline begins way before the first quarter of 2014.
Just a Recap. So I had my knee operation (due to chondromalacia) on Oct. 10 last year. But before that, I finished quite a slew of road runs and was in a constant training mode (meaning 3-weekday 11KM runs and a long run on Sundays). On August 18 (two weeks after my 21KM run leg of the Ironman), I finished the Safeguard 2XU 21KM race in the midst of windy rains along Roxas Boulevard at 1:59. Then on the 14 September, I trodded on the trails (later becoming muddy) of Filinvest in their Endurance Run where I completed 62KMs for 10 hours. It was a 2.2KM loop that would have bored me to death if not for Team Kuliters Dave, Chinky, Sheila & Rey who joined me. Two weeks later, Van & I conquered the Men’s Health Urbanathlon 21KM Run which was studded with some difficult obstacles. We finished at an impossible 1:53 but I soon found out that we missed out one set of obstacles. Moving on.
Finally, on October 6, six days after my 48th, I finished my 14th full marathon with a satisfactory time of 4:25. Three days later, I went under the knife. It was a fast recovery but it tested my patience and antsiness to run again.
A Life of Ease (or Living in Limbo). So just like that, a life which breathed on trainings, uphills and hydration packs suddenly took an unexpected detour and made a screeching halt. I’d sometimes wake up at 5:15 AM and just stare at the ceiling and ponder on obesity, inactivity and rising blood pressure. But I also have to drill in my head the very words of my orthopedic surgeon: No running or jogging, just walking while the left knee is still recovering from the operation. No pressure on the joint or any acute knee bending beyond 135 degrees.
All my plans for the last quarter had to go down the drain – the Clark-Miyamit 50 Miles, Quezon City International Marathon, Milo Finals (just the 21KM), etc. Perhaps, this was one of the lowest point (read: depressing) in my so-called running career. But I’m not the one to be dissuaded by this minor quibble. I always try to make the most out of any sorry situation. A few days of soul searching finally made me realize that this could be one of the most pleasurable phases of my life. No more early morning training runs and even earlier rousing during Sunday mornings. Meaning I could eat out into the late night, watch movies I’ve missed and splurge on sleep.
Longing for the road. A few weeks of this soon had me getting more excited on my road comeback. Unfortunately, my hiatus had to be stretched a bit more. Before I started to bloat (the heaviest I got was 154 lbs.) and revert to my hypertensive persona, I focused on strengthening and several drills via my Milo Apex running school at QC Circle. Under the helm of the Sarets, I joined our two-days-a-week exercises, even if a bit protracted and simplified than the rest of the group. It was an ordeal not to join their runs at the end of the night but it would be foolish to push it either.
Cross trainings. So with a little patience and controlled exuberance, I started digging myself out of the injury hole. Strengthening was also coupled by routines on balance and flexibility via yoga, pilates, even zumba. Upper body strengthening and some leg works minus the body weight I got from our pool exercises and laps across. Near the end of November, I had started jogging to join our Milo cool down runs. My orthopedic surgeon also gave me the go signal to start running again after clearing me of any damage or delay in the repair of the surgical area at the left knee.
On the road again. On the first week of December, I joined my first 10KM run via Nike’s We Run in my favorite city of all, Marikina. It was exhilarating even if I was panting like hell and had to do some walking in between the run phases. Survived my first official run under 1 hour and was flying around the Marikina Sports Park oval where it concluded.
Recovery at this point became accelerated as I religiously did 15KM runs every Sunday around UP Diliman. By the start of 2014, I started running more regularly – that’s twice on weekdays and one long run on Sundays. The 1.5-hour swim exercises/laps continued into April when I joined my first Aquathlon after 3 years. I finished the Splash & Dash at 12:15 for the 400M swim and 17:10 for the 3K run. Not bad, really.
Races & Phases. Every month, I tried joining one race at least just so that I will be motivated to rev up my training and strengthening. January saw me doing runs/walks for 8 hours to rack up 28.6 KMs during the Fat Ass at the Clark Complex in Pampanga. February was a lot of long runs around UP Diliman but March finally gave me a taste of killer uphills and downhills when I joined the 16KM Wall to Shotgun at the Timberland area in San Mateo, Rizal. It was tricky especially with the endless sharp ascents but I made up on the descents where I was flying though a bit more controlled. By the time I crossed the finish line, I clocked a veritable 2:05:37.
Once April rolled in, I was doing a lot of swimming, running and P90X workouts at the condo gym which greatly helped in my aquathlon that month. On May 1, an unexpected invitation to run in a Rotaract-sponsored race saw me waking up early and tracing the Marikina river and back to finish the 10KM race at 51:08. The trainings and cross-trainings seem to have helped tremendously.
Training Mode. Now that the Milo Apex Running School has begun (last April 28), I’m feeling a lot stronger now with the Milo Marathon in mind. So every Monday & Wednesday nights, we’re doing the Milo routines at the QC Circle while every Wednesday and Friday mornings, we do our regular 10KM runs around the rolling village adjacent to ours. Sundays are reserved for long runs unless I have an official race like last Sunday’s Brooks Run Happy 24K Trail Run at the Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal area. It was a rollercoaster-like downhill leading into a rolling terrain which passes through 10 rivers and back. The uphills we just walked up continuously until we were led into the resort’s series of obstacles followed by a succession of downhill rappelling (my fave even if I didn’t have any gloves on) culminating in an acutely angled climb to the finish.
It’s my first official trail run and I’m quite proud of my 3:16 finish. Will I be doing more of this trail/mountail races? How far will I go upon my return to the winding trails and verdant paths? It’s perhaps, the main reason how I overused these knees in the first place. I really can’t tell. For now, I’m just happy to back in my home turf (that would be the road, the trails and the blogging world). Cheers!
Photography by Red Knight (Emman Tiburcio), Phiclique Mata Photography, Running Photographers, Run Cabanatuan, Photo Ops, Dyeptones, Edna Yao-Lim, Fatima Mae Tiburcio, David Buban, Maripaz Buban, Tina Marasigan & Dennis Centeno.