Monday, February 28, 2011

The Great Edsa Run

I  have always seen running as a rich-man's sports. It's because for the longest time, my savings could  not afford me a pair of running shoes.  So when those fun runs became a national craze, even the blogs could not arouse my interest.  I was already happy with my fitness program and the hefty fees (to join the fun runs) drove me back to the gym faster than I could say "takbo!"

The boss, who used to be my gym-mate found it more appealing to run around  his posh neighborhood in Greenhills than to lift weights at Eclipse. His pursuit was so infectious, Mami Athena began running on the treadmill a few weeks after recovering from her stroke. Off topic chat about their pastime used to be part of our weekly operations meeting.  It was only when the team leaders/spectators were all gone that they resolved to run together in a fun run.     

Talk of the event had already surfaced a few weeks before the actual activity. Being a sports buff myself, I was invited by the boss to join them.

"Tamang tama, para may kasama si Mami,"  he said.  

Meanwhile, with the Patroness already dazed, (out of excitement to test her mettle against other old runners)  a wordless nod and I was good to go.  With the boss paying for the registration, all I had to do was bring myself there.

Every massive undertaking requires planning and strategy, but instead of making preparations,  I let things run its own course.   I know myself as a long walker.  Once I covered  the city equivalent to the distance of Shaw Boulevard and Quezon Avenue after Coach Blakedaddy discouraged me from using the gym's treadmill.  Several years later, Makati would be my training ground. I shuttled between the Central Business District to the borders of Mandaluyong to get ready for my first run.

The night before the fun run was spent sleeping for two hours after my insomnia reared its ugly head. Carbo-loading was not practiced and had I not eaten a McDonald's Meal  ten minutes  before the firing of the starting gun, I would run on an empty stomach.  Poor coordination with my colleagues end up in  rushed last minute rituals.  With my running bib still unpinned and my backpack still cleaved behind my back, thoughts of joining the activity with literal excess baggage entered my head.

Then Mami Athena appeared with another colleague.  I was at the bags booth when I saw them leave their belongings.

Of  the hundreds who joined the fun run, we were among the last to cross the starting  line.  A short sprint up to the corner of Edsa and White Plains and Mami Athena was already catching her breath. Our other colleague dashed ahead.  We caught up with him as he walked past Robinson's Galleria, exhausted. 

An ill-conceived routing plan made us race next to moving cars and trucks in Ortigas. A group of big fat blondes walking along the sidewalk made fun of the runners. As they jeered and laugh, the tubs of lards received hostile stares and snubs from their leaner counterpart.

After we have crossed Meralco Avenue, the road went on a downward slope.  Even though we were walking at a much faster pace, our legs didn't feel sore.  We would pass by an old lady jogging alone. Assured that she would cross the finish line despite her pace, her stand would make her Mami Athena's running mate. 

The hilly terrain at the Temple Drive dragged most of the runners.  It was also here that I was able to use my reserves as Mami Athena pushed me to run while she slowed down to join the old lady we met earlier.  As I sprinted towards the final leg,  I felt my legs getting heavy.  The result of my lack of preparation was finally showing up.  Catching my breath, I was able to steal a glimpse of the ridge overlooking  Eastwood City.  With  the  morning sun bouncing its light off the office towers, the picturesque sight almost made me stop and forget about running.

Slowing down, a  lean broad-shouldered runner cut through my path. His presence made me remember why I sprinted in the first place.

Running are for those whose aim is to cut down on fats and be as lean as the  swimmers. The seasoned joggers, which  I  saw in Makati during my "training days" may not have the bulky frame I earned from weight lifting. 

But their aesthetics are more striking than those who consider themselves gym-dwellers like me.

More than the eye candies, which are everywhere, the event shattered my past beliefs about social marathons.  The pro-runners with their sleek thermal suits and bulky fuel belts maybe leading the pack, but behind them were hundreds of old and young people running and walking  to raise enough funds to build more classrooms across the country.

As  I entered  the final  leg of the course track, both the 5K and 10k runners converged.   With the boulevard clad in a sea of yellow shirts, its hard not to notice those who stood out  from the rest.   There was the Elvis Presley guy,  who sprinted past most of the participants.  His presence lifted people's spirits and urged them to catch up.  The Azkals were there too, according to people on Twitter.  Though I haven't seen them during the run, their presence assured a new wave of disciples watching their next match.

With  the finish line fast approaching,  I spent the last of my reserves running until I was able to keep up with the seasoned runners. I went past the colleague who left us again after slowing down in Galeria. The trance and house music on my iPod played an important role in keeping my adrenaline steady. Defying the onset of fatigue, I struggled to show everyone that even heavy weight lifters can sprint too.

Seeing the baggage booth made me stop running. Reclaiming my backpack, I  let other runners pass ignoring the time record I could set for my first 5K run. 

"There's another time to beat the record," I told myself earlier, while walking alongside the Patroness. "I'm here because..." Before I could finish my train of thoughts,  Mami Athena quickened her steps.

I waited, past the Elvis Presley Runner, past the kids who merrily went ahead, past the colleague who was able to limp towards the finish line,  until the two ladies appeared on the horizon,  happy that their long walk was about to end.

"Tara, lets cross together,"  I told Mami Athena.

And so an hour and 3 minutes after our journey began, our feet were able to leap past  the finish line. 


Later that evening, Mami Athena told me that her running mate thought I was her boy. 

"But he's so young and so muscular," the old lady said.

"And he's gay." Mami Athena quipped. 

"But you're so sweet together."  As far as I remember, I was just following my surrogate mother's pacing.

"Do gay people look like him these days?"  

"Yes, they frequent the gym nowadays."  

Their conversation was left unresolved.  The old lady remains a non-believer.

Two days later, I still limp when I do floor walk.    


blagadag said...

takbo talaga? as in dalagan gid ya? ugtas!

~Carrie~ said...

Congrats for finishing the run, Mugen!

john stanley said...

wow, tumatakbo ka na rin! me likey!

Mu[g]en said...


Na-invite lang. Pero nanghihinayang ako dun sa Condura Run. Diba sa taas yun ng Skyway ginanap?



Sakit pa rin ng katawan ko. huhuhu.


Opo Mommy. As in alog alog lahat ng taba ko. Wahahaha!

Eternal Wanderer... said...

i hope you're running towards something.

and not away from it.


Desperate Houseboy said...

Congrats sa pagtakbo papa mugen at dapat ka din bang i congrats kasi napagkamalan kang lover ni mami?

Sean said...

congrats for finishing. ngayon ko napatunayan na hindi ko pa kailangang mag-quit from smoking hehe.

Louie said...

Pag-alis ko sa trabaho isa ito sa mga buhay na kakaririn ko. Hehe.

I echo Sean too! Haha!

Congrats for finishing!!! :D

Spiral Prince said...

What do you think of the old lady's failed conversion, Mugen? Is it a good or a bad thing? Or neither? :D

Mu[g]en said...

Spiral Prince:

I've always known as the ladies' deceiver. Lol. I'm used to it. Hahaha.


Proceed with caution. Hehe. Masakit pa rin legs ko.


Kahit nagbubuhat naman eh nagyoyosi pa rin ako. Yun nga lang bawal ang suba dalawang oras bago magensayo.

Mu[g]en said...

Desperate Houseboy:

Effortless lang. Hahaha