This is a much delayed post. But as promised, I asked my human friend to let me share my tales. After all, she rarely blogs. Haha. So perhaps I can do the talking while she keeps herself busy at work.
I was as excited as she was for our short vacation. Destination? Hong Kong and Macau! Bowerman told me she brings her latest baby of a pair of shoes to her vacations. Nike Free went to Boracay, while Bowerman braved the hills of Punta Fuego. For someshoe who only had about 100+km mileage, any out-of-town runs is most welcome!
Before we both got giddy, however, there was a hurdle: A week before our flight, we’re to brave our first 21k at SIM. She had been restless for weeks. We’d train together and I was doing well; I knew that I can make it because I’m young—no need to fuzz about injury or shoe casualty. No amount of “Kaya mo ‘yan” from supportive friends pacified her. Well, she’d feel calm, then she’d feel the fear freeze her again.
Rewind to Oct. 15: She joined Ellen and Mark for our very first long run. Rico, who just acquired Price, was doing hill training in McKinley in preparation for Subic’s hills. It was an easy pace. I was thankful that both Ellen and Mark didn’t unleash their speed monster powers as we did a timed run of 2:30-ish. Soon after, we joined Rico and Ellen’s colleague—another marathoner—whom I later spotted at SIM, too. We covered 23km that night, while Mark went on for a couple of more kilometers to complete his last long run before his first full marathon.
A week later, she was Lil Ms. Good Mizuno student and attended the running clinic. She was registered for the mini-5k race. Pacing with a brother, another Elixir owned by Timmy, I was comfortable with the semi-race pace—not too easy, but not too hard, as the half marathon would be in a few days. Other running shoe friends took a chill, easy run. Before the last round, she took a phone call and started to really take it easy. Ely, Timmy’s Elixir, then outpaced me in the end. Tsk tsk, girl power lost this time.
Race day came. Chaos at the start/finish line, a fresh race route, marshal-less racing, loop cord shortage, running friends from different circles, a fun pace group (Luis, our Gingerbread News Network or GNN correspondent; Timmy and Ely; and Internet legend Tito Caloy), a support team teeming with hydration and cheers, and some jelly beans—all made the first 21k experience a unique one. I know it’s just 21k, but for newbie shoes like me and for an underachiever of a runner, our running friends—and their running shoes—made the SIM experience one of the best races I’ve joined. The late night trainings as well as race day hugs and cheers all helped me and my human overcome what we thought was impossible (or at least something we were once hesitated to conquer).
GNN reported that we finished our first 21k in 2:25, while the official results that came weeks later reported we finished at 2:27. Not that it matters. Our training program’s goal was a 2:40 finish. There’s always a next time to improve our race time. There’s also a next time for the race organizers to improve their service. We just have to accept our shortcomings (for my human friend, it’s her attitude of not pushing herself enough) and work on improving them (i.e. mental conditioning?).
The SIM experience made me a much more mature pair of shoes; I guess it had the same impact on my human friend. The heat and the dirt made me age three months, while the wisdom it brought matched that of ol’ Bowerman. Keep running, keep pushing. While the shortcomings of the race organizer made SIM one of the least favorite races in the running community, we running shoes and runners alike learned that together, we are capable of turning things around. The spirit of camaraderie enveloped everyone. Timmy’s Kanadia and Cindy’s outdoor sandals even pounded the pavement to pace Lorie, Chelly and other 10k runners at the Nike Human Race.
Let’s not elaborate on that nightmarish of a full marathon. You’ve heard about it. Now it’s time to get excited as I:
In my previous tale, I said I was stuck inside a shoe bag. That was the case: hibernation. It was not until another friend in the happy bunch arrived from Japan that we ran in Hong Kong. It was an easy 3km run. I must admit that Victoria Park’s “jogging path” is friendly to my soles and perhaps to runners, as it has kilometer markings.
We then went to Ocean Park, and spent the whole day and night in the theme park—I like! Their haunted houses scared the heck out of my laces. Despite being wrapped in the dark in a narrow alley, a comic relief came:
Pot (thinking that speaking in Filipino is the way to go with her taunt): Ginugulat naman ako nito eh. Suntukin kita eh.
Haunted House creature: Rawrrrr! Suntukin mo ko? Suntukin mo ko?
Oops, kababayan pala!
So in the next House:
Pot: Easy, guys. Easy. Easy.
Haunted House creature: Growwwwlll! Sige, easy lang. Easy lang.
As we train for another race early next year, I hope she takes it easy on me, too. 🙂