Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Explanations

I started joining road races back in 2009. My very first was the Kenny Rogers Urbanite Run, where I ran 15 kilometers. Urbanite happend some time in August '09, and for the remainder of that year, I went on to do six more races.  Five were staged in Metro Manila (i.e, the Fort, McKinley Hill, Makati CBD), and  only one was staged out-of town (Subic). Back then, I did not really care where I ran. For as long as I had a race to run, my weekend was made and I was happy.

In 2010, I ran a total of 14 races, and had a DNS in one. Of those 14, 12 were in Metro Manila. Of the 12, nine were held at the Fort, or had a portion of the route go through the Fort. Of the two that were held outside the Metro, one was held out-of-town (CamSur), and the other was held out of the country (Singapore).

The CamSur race - my third full marathon - started the fire. I was never the same after CamSur. All of a sudden, I was no longer hot about racing at the Fort or the Makati CBD. And so, as 2011 rolled in, I found myself joining even fewer Manila races. The addiction was further fueled by my new-found interest in ultra distance running. And so, my race log for 2011 looks like this:  a marathon in Cebu, three ultras in Bataan and Pampanga (BDM and the two test runs), and then another ultra in Albay. Only one Manila race thus far - Condura. Next up is a marathon in Kuala Lumpur, an ultra in Nueva Ecija, and then that huge marathon in New York later in the year. Only one other Manila race on my radar as of this writing - Milo.

It's mind-boggling how much my running horizon has expanded (literally!) in such a short span of time. A number of non-running friends and acquaintances are amazed at the amount of time, resources, and effort that I invest in doing what I do - all for the love of an activity that they perceive as boring. All for the sake of joining races that I could never win. And then, they ask, "Why?" Once in a while, I go through lucid intervals and attempt to supply an explanation, provide some rhyme and reason, for what they term as "madness." Each time I do that, I do so knowing that, while some of them will probably get it, a lot of them very likely won't. And so, more often than not, I just keep my mouth shut. After all, I don't have to explain anything. This is the path that I have chosen. This is what I have become. This is my passion.

So, the next time someone asks me why I do what I do, maybe I will just say this:

"Wait 'til I start hitting the trails."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catching Up

It's good to be back.  It has been almost a month since my last entry, and even that was not really an entry.  It was more like "posting for the sake of posting." I succumb to that every so often.

What have I been up to lately? From a running "perspective," not much. I did luck out and made it to the 2011 ING New York City Marathon via the lottery. On my first try at that, so VERY lucky indeed. Other than that, my running has been relatively stagnant. My last two races had been the BDM 102k last March and the Mayon 360 50-Miler last April (damn I miss them ultras!), and after those, nada. After Mayon, I went on a two-week break from running to let my aching shins heal. The hiatus was followed by two weeks of every-other-day 10-kilometer runs. I was starting to get my groove back when everything came to a grinding halt once again as I had to spend a week in China on work-related travel. China was all meetings, eating, and drinking. There was even quite a bit of smoking. But, there absolutely was no running (I did bring a set of running clothes - just in case). And since I don't cross-train, no running meant no exercise, which, in turn, meant plus four pounds. Nice.

This week, my conscience ate me up and I finally communed with the road once again. Three consecutive days of running, with last Wednesday's 12-kilometer doozy being my longest run since Mayon. Despite the roller-coaster ride, I think I still have the endurance for longer runs. Thank God that endurance is always one of the last to go. I'm starting to build momentum once again and I feel I'm onto something here, so much so that it's time for another... vacation. Five days in Boracay with wifey and some very good friends. Sigh. I'll never get my running mojo back.

Looming in the horizon is the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon on June 26. I will have to do a bit of cramming for that one, and perhaps rely on some "stock knowledge." Good thing my good friend Din Cordero, who is in the midst of preparations for his first-ever ultra run (at the trails of Nuvali in June), brought up the idea of a long run. That got my juices flowing, and the result is a 32k (with gusts of possibly up to 40k - wink, wink) LSD scheduled for May 28th. I am all amped for that one, to say the least.

The schedule will begin to pick up after the KL Marathon. Two weeks after KL, I will be doing the PAU Fort Magsaysay 60k Ultra. A must-do run, if there ever was one. After Fort Magsaysay will be the Milo Marathon, which will officially usher in Manila's marathon season.

Right now, the big one is the 2011 NYC Marathon. Quite honestly, though, it hasn't even sunk in yet - despite the fact that the registration fee was already charged against my credit card and already showed up in my latest statement. Maybe it's because November 6 is still so far away. In any case, I have already started scouting for a hotel, and my wife Bam has already told friends at the Big Apple to expect us in November. Plus, I have updated my Blackberry Messenger (BBM) status to say this: "NYC Marathon Training starts in June." Maybe that will help me get the Empire State of Mind. Or maybe not.

And so, just when it seems like I'm starting to get my mojo back, I will be going on yet another break. This will probably be the last, as summer's almost done anyway. It will only be for five days, though, and next weekend's LSD will hopefully jolt me back to reality fast. It's definitely good to be back, and I can't wait to pick up from where I left off. Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder.

Time to finish this glass of wine and hit the sack.