what running has taught me…

finally i ran my fourth half marathon Sunday morning via the National Geographic’s Earth Day Run 2015. the event was successful, at least for me, i finished without injuries and though didn’t beat my PR, i am happy i made it and for the first time in my birth country, the Philippines, for that matter.

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it was so humid that even in the first 20 minutes from start line i was profusely perspiring already… total opposite of my runs in cool cool Vancouver.. and to think that gunstart was at 3 a.m. my goodness! but it was good though, lots of victims of heatstroke in this country at this time of year and with thousands of participants, organizers perhaps made sure runners will be comfortable, except for maybe lack of sleep for some..

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my niece, with my sister midst the crowd

this was the struggle that went on in my mind while running:
-at 10kms, i thought i should have signed up for 10 instead of 21kms, so I conceded that I was
tired, began to slow down, walked a little, jogged a little,,,

+but,,, no, i’m in it so i have to finish with my best effort…

-but,,, i started imagining my shin pain, my ankle pain, my whatever pain,,

+but,,, i remembered all the hours i put in for training,, i mustn’t slowdown..

-but,,, i lack sleep, i have a good reason for a mediocre performance..

+-+-+- but.. but… i was battling my demons,, in the end, sheer determination and mind over matter prevailed… God has sustained me, i finished not beating my PR but beating my demons..

did you know that the devil attacks you at your most vulnerable state? had i been the same person i was before i met the Lord, i would be buried by now, probably killed myself or buried under my cloud of negativity and hopelessness.. but thank God He revealed Himself to me, yes, i was given choices before, but now, i can choose better because i have Him as my guide…

my dear friend and run mentor, Allyn also joined the run, though I wished we ran together, we weren’t able to find each other amidst the 20,000 participants, to look for her is like needle in haystack…. but I am truly grateful that she participated and we had our souvenir “finish” line photo again after 5 or so years…

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Me and Allyn – seems like old times.. 🙂

 

so what has running taught me? I realized that I am (we all are) the easy targets of the devil, the bible says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8 especially during our darkest and trying times, in our tiredness, he is just waiting to victimize us.

But take heart!! God is our victor! He lifts us up and helps us finish our race, through heat and blisters, from hopelessness to encouragement, all we need to be is faithful and trust in His Sovereignty… then we’ll cross the finish line defeating our demons.. God triumphs!

M.

the day after…

it is finally over!!

the only unwelcoming difference from the scenes posted on the BMO RunVan sites was the absence of the sunshine… 😦

rain rain go away
rain rain go away

it was a rainy event. i had on, the BMO bright yellow tech shirt, on top of another dri-fit shirt, on top of a long sleeved run shirt, and my favorite pink cap, and wore my capri running pants. running shoes was not rain proof so,, i got them wet, socks and all… weather was light rain, i.e. more than a drizzle but less than a rain but run under it for 2 hours will leave one soaking wet in the end.. temp was cold 9 to 10 degrees, overcast day… we didnt have a big garbage bag to use as “ponchos” so i said, que sera sera, there’ll be thousands others running in the rain anyways.. it’ll be fun!

so we were given a pair of running gloves which i decided to wear around the 16th km mark when my fingers were going stiff frozen from the cold brrrrrrr… i was trying to snap some photos but i couldn’t even press the button of my phone ha ha…

i promised myself i will follow the 2:15 pace bunny unlike last year when i was overconfident and thought i can do it myself.. but from the pink corral where i was, i didn’t or couldn’t see the pace bunnies, not until we reached the 13th km mark, on a turn around route did i see her on the opposite side ahead of me, a distance gap of prob’ly a kilometre???? from there, i knew i may not be able to beat my targeted 2:15 finish.. okay, so i thought, if i cant beat it, at least i should do better than my previous times…

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guess what… i didn’t beat my time, but only for a second ha ha… in 2012 i finished 2:26:11, my PR so far,, yesterday, basing on my chip time, i finished 2:26:12… it’s okay i crossed the finish line with a big smile… happy happy…

here are some highlights of my run yesterday, taken under the rain…

as i crossed the start line yesterday, i can’t help but feel grateful thinking i am so blessed with so much in life, and that i tread along the streets of Vancouver running a half marathon race, which i never had the chance to do in Manila, Philippines… i thought this would not be possible if God have not sent me a beautiful being, whom He named Evelyn.. or Blynn, my self created nickname for her… 🙂 she is the “Allyn” counterpart for me here in Canada… apparently God takes care of me… Blynn was my running buddy since i moved here to Canada and for that, i am so fortunate having known her. she almost beat her dream of a sub 5 hours for her full marathon finishing 4 minutes longer.. so proud of her… way to go, Blynn and thank YOU!!

bonding times with Blynn:

what’s next for me? sure will still keep on running, race or no race… but won’t think about that for now,, my next project is my first major trip to the U.S. to reunite with my family.. it’s happening soon… 2014,, indeed, my year of JOY..   i love you dear Lord Jesus.. 🙂

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1-17

M.

looking for signs…

done with my 14th week of 16-week train plan. 19 days to go ’til race day! i followed a 16-week training plan i got from Runkeeper, but wondering why there’s one more extra week actually… but i’ll just stick to the schedule.. 

19 days

Saturdays are LSD days.. last Saturday, i almost was not able to do my last long run before taper time, if not for my habit of looking for signs to help me decide on a lot of trivial things..

i had chores to do on that day that I was considering running my LSD on Sunday. But to make it easier for me, I asked for a sign. Walking on my way home from lunching with friends, it was about 3 p.m., I told myself, if a lady runner ever crosses my path, then I will do it today.

in the past, I honestly rarely see lady runners in our area, so I was already looking forward to taking my nap when I get home or watch my recorded tv programs, when halfway through my walk, there she appears ‘round the corner in a bright pink shirt, a lady runner who I wished (at first) would never show up..

but, I’m glad she did. i had a great 18 km run, started at 4:07 p.m. and finished 2 hours and 3 minutes later. whew!! i was alone again, naturally.. had stitches @ 14kms but I recovered. i was able to tackle the uphill Queensborough Bridge and towards the Canada Way (in Burnaby) that has an elevation of 128 meters, good for my leg workout. done!

saturday run

i have often asked God for signs before i step into something i am unsure of, but, i need the Holy Spirit’s guide to lead me to where God will be pleased. let me warn you though that not all signs may be God’s will for you. then how do you know if the sign is from God?  if what you asked for is in accordance with His words, and it’s when circumstances facing you will make the decision easy to accomplish. i believe God always sends something that will make me think again, and re assess the situation.. however, despite these “system checks”, I still failed many times but my failures were the very experiences that helped me grow in faith and rely more on Him.  

do you ever ask for signs from God?  do it fervently, and with a trusting heart… remember that God will never fail you, He is always up to something good… 🙂

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;   I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” ~Psalm 32:8

M.

second chances….

it’s my 13th week of 16-week train plan for a half marathon.. 33 days to go…

last Saturday, i was happy to do long run with my run buddy, Blynn. we were supposed to finish 16kms per my run training schedule for my 12th week. before we met up, it was raining but it did not dampen our spirits, which was good because as we hit the road… the sun just came peeping from the clouds..

our starting point was already from the elevated area, so it was definite that we will be treading this “up-hell” route on our way back.. it was not a good idea, for me, i.e. because by 13th / 14th km mark, i was so exhausted, almost hitting the wall kind of thing, but i wouldn’t call it that, it’s so embarrassing, i felt i wanted to walk through the last 2 kilometers, feeling sore here and there… all in the mind i know. since Blynn was almost a kilometer ahead of me, i decided to just freeze my Runkeeper and complete my run at 13.61 kms. short of a measly 2.4 kms to complete the run… not good! i think i am low on carbs intake, trying to lose weight but this is what happens, my body is confused as i am ha ha..

run maps - Copy

so, today, seeing the sun was so up, i can even wear lighter gear (capri running pants) and no rain gears, i decided to run 10 kms instead of just 6.5 per my 13th week run sched. i had a very disappointing run last Saturday that i thought i needed to go back to that route, but this time, my starting point was the opposite, from lower elevation, then up the Queensborough Bridge (the ‘up-hell’) then back to my homebase.. i think it’s better to start with the difficult part then end with the easy part, than doing it the other way around.

i am happy with my finish. it upped my confidence level once again, since i only have a month to go to really see how i will fare this time. this is going to be my third half marathon only, it’s nothing compared with my peers who ran countless full marathons and still going great,, but still, i am excited and can’t wait for the results.

life is all about second chances,,, if at first we don’t succeed, we have to try again. if we fail the first time, try doing better the second time,  it is always worse giving up without even trying, don’t you think so?

wall

i give up easily sometimes, i am not perfect,  i hurt others, or others may hurt me,  but you know what, my faith gives me second chances and pushes me to just keep going on and to always remember that God is with me all the way and all the time as i run in my race of life, He never gives up on me when others may do. Thank You Dear God, and i give You back all the Glory and Praises…

“…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 1:6

M.

healing my heel…

it’s week 7 of 16 week training for half marathon. 72 days to go.

race goal

last boxing day (December 26th), i bought two pairs running shoes from Adidas outlet store (everything was 50%). one was Kanadia tr 5 GTX for trail running and the other was Lite pacer women’s. i have been experiencing slight heel pains late last year, i suspect it was a worn out running shoes so it was about time i bought a new pair.

adidas

trail running shoes is bit heavier but it gives me comfort and stability. the second pair is sooo light, that i can’t wait to run with it. since January when i began my 16 week train plan, i only tried the Lite pacer once, and sad to say, it hurt the ball of my foot. so i have been running with the trail shoes.

luckily, i got myself a good pair of orthotic insoles (store bought), triple-zone protection they called it (for the forefoot, arch, and heel support)…. guess what happens? i never thought i can reach my race pace without feeling exhausted really! i was so thrilled!! but downside of it.. the heel pain kinda persisted.

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i have read about P.F. (Plantar Fasciitis) and i think what i am having is not it, fingers crossed. like right now, i feel okay, as if nothing is going on. but of course i cannot be so sure that it won’t lead to that, or any other heel/foot injury. I HOPE NOT!!! i had better start preventive measures rather than aggravate it and that would be really sad news. you know me, i believe in our bodies’ capacity to self heal, as long as we do what we ought to do with it.

if you visit our small apartment, you will find golf balls under my worktable, they are my best ball-friends from my golfer friend, Phil, he he,, i use them after every run, or even as i type my blog,, for my foot massage, and it feels so good. it was also my therapy for my frozen shoulder. i place the ball under my left shoulder blades while lying on my firm bed and to knead, i rotate my arm and adjust where it gives me a good massage and it works really well! plus of course with icing and stretching for my foot and the heat pad for my now almost cured frozen shoulder :)…

so now, the question is, how much should i run with this pain or should i just continue with the icing and the stretching and golf balling?? i plan to run my long run this weekend, then i will decide from there. if it will be necessary for me to rest from running for a while, i will.

Also, i would keep in mind what my friend, Allyn told me this morning, ‘go for support shoe than light shoe’, that was a good advice. thank you my dear friend.

let you know what happens next. will my heel heal?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13 (Thank You, Lord,,, )

M. 

pluses of running…

i am aiming to get a sub 2:15 finish for my third attempt to run the half in May, which means my average pace should at least be 6:23 minutes/km (10.18 min/mile).  this was my plan too last year hahaha  but i finished even slower than my very first run in 2012.

i always want to fast track things because i want results right away.  that’s why instant coffee, instant noodles, instant everything were invented, those are for people like me.   but just like in running, i will need two P’s, PERSEVERANCE and PATIENCE to get there. 

P & P

to have Perseverance one needs Patience and Patience is developed in Perseverance.  (you have to pause there to really absorb it…) sounds easy no? wait ’til they both be more complicated if i have dashes of two D’s, Discipline and Discouragement. 

i have not achieved that pace yet in my practice runs, it was never faster than 6:30~6:50 which is my average  most of the time.  i am taking my time (PATIENCE)  and not losing hope (DISCOURAGEMENT)  i still have lots of time to practice (PERSEVERANCE)… and to lose some weight hopefully (DISCIPLINE).  it’s good thing Richmond weather has been behaving well the past week, so i have no reason not to lace up and go out for a run.  but i do enjoy it really.

all this i keep in mind, not only when running.  in my everyday affairs, i need to watch out for discouragements and the discipline i need. and it is fine to set a goal for myself, i will always turn out a winner whatever the outcome is, and that is because, i know will have developed not only my 2 P’s, but also, O’s, J’s, L’s, C’s, H’s……  (Optimism, Joy, Love, Contentment, Hope), and of course,, P’s… (PEACE) in my heart 🙂

finally, let me share a video from my favorite site, http://www.values.com, simply created but so positive…  

THE GREATEST

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” ~James 1:12

M.

 

building confidence…

the other night, or should i say, wee hours of the morning, trying to get to sleep, i watched “Spirit of the Marathon” on youtube.

it is a very inspiring hour and a half documentary about people who are training for the marathon, either for the first time or nth time, as well as those rooting for a place in the Olympics. i heard a LOT different reasons as to why they run the marathon, and here were some of what they have to say:

> “i feel i can do something others cannot….”
> “running the marathon makes me able to go through any obstacles in my life, like my recent divorce, it is a mental thing…”
> “i  need to outdo myself each time i finish one race….”
> “when i started running, i realized that i can accomplish things that i thought i couldn’t…”

and so many other reasons that make one feel good about him/herself.

running for me came a bit too late, but like one runner in the docu film i mentioned, he started running only when he was 65 years old, isn’t that amazing? there is nothing impossible if one’s heart is into it.

this week is my second week of 16-week train plan for half marathon. so far so good, i’ve been running slow, working on my endurance first then speed later. i kinda lost it when i started working (blame the job ha ha ha ha )… i know i was lazy to do any workouts and you see, i get what i deserve.. i gained weight and add to that my frozen shoulder (i got lots to blame ha ha ha) that i felt i needed the “rest” from my workout routines….

The Weight Loss Benefits of Being Lazy
The Weight Loss Benefits of Being Lazy

what is the reason that i run? i think it’s that same thing, i feel i can do something others cannot… though i only do half of the distance, it’s still the same when i tell people that “yes, i am a runner” that i feel good about myself.

if you are a runner, why do you run? if you aren’t, what do you do to build up your confidence in yourself? let me encourage you to do what you have been wanting to do but think you cannot. it’s fear that deters you from doing it, and fear is all in the mind…. go for it!!

Hebrews 10:35-36 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

M.