will he love me more if i ran?

A couple of ladies shared this link on Facebook, which happened to drop on my wall while I was online.  It's a blog entry from renowned runner-blogger Jaymie Pizarro aka The Bull Runner.  The entry was entitled Date a Girl Who Runs.

I read it.  It was very well-crafted.  A brilliant unfolding of insight and words.  And halfway thru, it got me confused.  Because I really didn't know what to make of myself.  Maybe I should look at it the other way.  Replace female pronouns with male ones.  Because really, I not only dated a guy who runs, I married one.

Somehow it didn't make me feel better.  Especially when it came to the part discussing the "never let her go" and the train-togethers and the getting married to a girl who runs.  The beauty of that entry was that it made perfect sense.  Thru my husband, I had the opportunity to know a lot of running couples.  Some of the girls even doing better than their other halves.  Some following suit and training for the insanity that their husbands/boyfriends operate in.

I cut back to the day when the hubby was browsing thru friend's profiles and congratulating them for pacing their wives who ran their first mary's on the TBR Dream Marathon.  He was so ecstatic that he got this second-hand running high.  He was looking at their times and couldn't believe how these women did so well.  He was extremely happy and proud for them.

Which made me think, really.  Okay, I will not hide the insecurity.  Am I writing this defensively?  Maybe.  Is it a bit of oversharing?  Perhaps.  I'll be honest.  It's a bit of thinking that happens once in a while, when I remember how different we are.  And for as long as we're together, we'll just be that way.

She will never force your children to run, but they will learn to love it when they see her passion for running. She will make living a healthy, active life easy, natural, and best of all, fun. Expect a lot of laughter, sweat, and sports beans. Running will not be a sport, but it will be a way of life for you and your children.  You will never run alone.

Hmm.  I can't imagine having that.  I mean, I like sports beans.  They're sweet and they give that jolly zap.  But I don't think I'll have them because I need them for some athletic training.  

Which leads me to wonder about our "different" moments.  Like every time that he tells me to do one more round, or to just get out of the house and jog, to do something other than be on the computer; each time he does that, does he wish I was a sportier girl?  Every time he shows annoyance to why I don't understand that it would be better if I jogged without music so I could listen to my body; each time that  my stubbornness renders me totally uncoachable, does he feel regret? Would he be happier with someone who's not a couch potato, a shopaholic, a paper-hoarder who likes to take brewed coffee extremely slowly?

I take a sip from my coffee, which has been sitting by my computer screen for around 30 minutes.  Its warmth has almost escaped the mug.  I scroll up, see the sappy title, and my fingers threaten to use the Command+A+Del sequence.  The little blinking line taunts me, as it awaits my decision.  And in a fit of hearing Lady Gaga stomping away singing Born this Way (fittingly) on a music channel, I decide to let all this drama known to the world.

Because even if I'm not the girl who runs, I am the girl who blogs.  And I am the girl who reads.  I am the girl who is many things that may not be running and I'm sure at least one of those things was reason enough for my guy who runs to date me and marry me.  If love was already unconditional, then it wouldn't be right to think of even demanding more.

Now let's publish this thing.


the pre-race diet

Okay here it is.  What we do and eat approaching race day.  I say "we" because I really would rather cook one meal for the both of us (most of the time).  Than bothering to eat something sinfully to my taste, because I would have to cook it too.  And wash.  And fix.  Well, you get the picture.

Just a disclaimer - I am not some dietician, nor am I one knowledgeable in food groups etcetera etcetera.  I did what I could to pass health class in High School.  But that's just about it.

The diet was "developed" (ooh, sounds really professional) across several races.  It was basically based on what made him feel good approaching the race, during his training and of course during the race itself.  There must be some science behind it, the simple being we really do know what's good and what's bad for us.  The yummy stuff usually being the bad, indulgent ones.  *Guilty* 

It's not a strict diet.  Though if he could avoid eating pork and beef altogether, he would.  Especially if it's down to two weeks before race day.  It's something that he says keeps his energy up longer, and makes him feel "lighter".  So that's good.  Having fish or seafood as the main source of protein gets him hungry easily - so the snacking becomes frequent.  But to that we try to have fresh fruits and/or a simple whole wheat sandwich.

That leaves all the cupcakes, bacon, spam and sausages for me :) 

Cereal with Fruits and Raisins for Breakfast

Pan-grilled Fish with Eggplants, Brown Rice and Dragonfruit

Cooking healthy isn't easy.  Well, for me at least - the reluctant domestic goddess that I am.  Keeping fresh produce from rotting away.  Trying to avoid frying.  I bought a Meyer teflon-coated grill pan last week, which would at least help cut down on using oil.  If we do need to deep-fry, paper towels are a runner's wife's best friend.  Blot that oil out to death like you're trying desperately to mattify your face on a humid day.

Over the weekend, we were at the beach.  Trips like these are dangerous, because the basking in the sun and enjoying the scenery won't be complete without good food.  The beach we went to had basic dwellings and no food arrangements.  So we had to make do with easy cooking and what we could buy at the local market.  Which meant... well, cheating.  Which was okay, he says, because it's still a month to go.  So inevitably it means we're not going beaching until that TNF100 run is over.

The bag of cheesy happiness, Cheetos vs. Grilled Fish.  Cheetos win.

Corona Extra = carbo-loading.  So it's okay, allegedly.

Grilled Fish now joined by cheese dogs and Chicken BBQ.  Oh no.

Dinner on the way home: Army Navy burgers.

Two patties, cheese and a load of Jalapenos.

Don't worry diet, we'll get right back on you now.


the universe doesn't want me to run.

Let's take the path of less resistance.  I say that "training" and looking forward to something will set you up for a lot of "oh man" non-warm fuzzy feelings that can't be solved by a cup of coffee and a cupcake when it doesn't happen.

Should've been, would've been, could've been.  I won't be getting that shirt.  Remember the last post I wrote about me being some quasi-training-runner for the 2011 NatGeo run?  Well yeah, it turns out that the shorter distances are already closed.  I underestimated the breadth of aspiring running bums like myself.  Or really how many kids way younger and faster than me want to cross a finish line.  Now, unless I would like to kill myself before I actually find a job again, I'll go ahead and do the 21k.

Yeah, I'm not going to lie.  This bum is actually bummed.  I'll just go back to looking at pretty pictures and tumblr-ing them.  It doesn't involve pressure nor does it make you sweat and writhe in pain.

Okay, I kind of mean that sarcastically.  Alright, who am I kidding.  I can't say I'm totally happy that he read that article.  And I can't say that I'm spastically bummed either.  Primarily because this now directly concerns - ME.  

We got this issue at the BDM 2011 Celebration Dinner.  It had Sir Jovie aka Bald Runner on the cover.  I think this is our second issue... or third.  I don't really pay attention to them, as they are dwarfed by the ginormous issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.  Okay, cue in some little back story.

Watching National Geographic, I see this ad on an Earth Day Run.  I love the world.  I think it's the most awesome thing.  When I was a kid, wanted to be a planeteer.  I wanted to meet Captain Planet.  So I saw that there was  3K distance and I told the hubby that maybe I could run that.  I rally some of my friends to join (I'm not sure if they will).  And asked Chips if he could pace me again, like the last time.

Okay, back to now: the hubby I think is really excited.  And I don't know where this "maybe I could run the 3k" initiative came from.  I suppose I really love Mother Earth.  We all should, anyway.  

Anyhoo, where does Front Runner come in?  Zoom down into the little lower left corner:

One evening, Chips did a scurry to me while I was doing my calligraphy in our study.  He had the magazine in his hand, pointing to the bold sans-serif text.  Hey hunny, this is perfect for you.  Or something like that.  I look at him pensively.

This program is totally easy!  And it's really doable.  It's like what I do *pause* but with longer distances.

He shows me the article, which had a table under it.  It was divided into 8 weeks.  

We could just adjust it to the three weeks you have until the race.  You can stop here *points to a part in the table* because you're just racing 3k anyway and just...

I zone out a bit.  He asks me for the scissors, and I give it to him.  He then proceeds to cut the table and sticks in on our shoe cabinet (well it's a cabinet for clothes that we have filled with shoes).

I've been doing the program for the past 5 days.  Which is actually pretty manageable.  I think I pretty much surprised my otherwise inactive self a bit.  The first runs, though really short distances, really HURT.  Yeah I know what you're thinking, you serious runners you, that's the distance you actually just cool down with.  I know.  It makes me feel somewhat like a wuss.

The day after is usually filled with the inability to squat and reach stuff that are on the floor.  It also pains me to go down stairs.  Yesterday we ran again and I don't know about my body being deceptive or anything, but so far I'm not feeling so much pain.  I guess that's a good thing?

So there.  Thanks Front Runner, I am free from my husband's jeering at my once-a-week jogging ritual.  Let's just hope this keeps up.  I can't believe I even said that.


before the diet begins...

Yesterday, Chips officially started his pre-race diet.  In preparation for the TNF100 he's doing on Labor Day weekend.  So Saturday was the day to eat all the sinful goodnesses that he's going to be avoiding until said race.

On the top of that list is traditional Batac Ilocos Empanada from Empanada Nation.  It is a deliciously deep-fried snack (but in truth it could fill you like an over-portioned meal) that has a freshly cracked egg, papaya shreds and longganisa as its filling, encased in a crunchy orange-colored crust of oily evil.  The Ilokano longganisa is known for the intense seasoning of garlic and the Sukang Iloko (or Ilokano vinegar, from sugar canes).  The vinegar's pungent scent can send you reeling, but the dark shiny liquid is packed with intense flavour.  

You can choose from a wide array of combinations!

The deep-fried well of evil.

Two bottles of Sukang Iloko one's got chili soaking in it and one's just regular.
And yes, that's Ketchup.

Despite being of Ilokano descent, I regrettably never developed the taste for vinegar.  I think Chips is actually more of it than me.  He can douse food in vinegar like anything.  Well, at least not like my mom.  Who treats it like milk.

My empanada is tiny compared to what Chips ordered.

I usually get the Double-Special, which has two longganisas and one egg.  My drink of choice?  Orange soda.  Not just coz it matches the orange crust of the empanada.  Squeeze in some ketchup and it's ready to bite into.

When in Empanada Nation, you can actually customize your empanada.  Into how huge or simple you'd want it to be.  It can have more longganisa, if you're a carnivore (like me).  Or it can have insanely double or triple the egg and longganisa.  Please have your heart checked after. 

Chips got a Double-Double (2 eggs, 2 longganisas) and added 1 more longganisa.

I hear-by dub you the TRIPLE LONNGA THREAT.

Chips likes it with a hearty sprinkling of the vinegar and a generous squeeze of ketchup.  And believe it or not, this was only our mirienda (afternoon snack).  After a couple of hours, we drove on to my parent's house where they served us a lovely, lovely dinner.  Plus coffee and cookies :)

Triple-Longga-Threat, you die in the hands of ultra-runner hubby!!!

So when you're wanting a heart attack of bad, bad goodness, I strongly suggest to drop by Empanada Nation.  They're located at Scout Tuazon corner Rocess Avenue, Quezon City.

I'll write about his pre-race diet later.  For now, let me salivate.


we both have a lot of shoes

Contrary to popular male statements criticizing women's "need" to have multiple shoes for the same purpose - of walking or should I say, strutting - men are also capable of the same need.  Perhaps not for strutting, and it shouldn't be so because that would be terribly peculiar.

The hubby has 6 running shoes.  Two of them are trail.  Three are for road.  One is for short running or recovery runs.  There are some that he's given away already, because they either weren't fit for his feet or they're already worn down to being virtually treadless.

1st Row, L-R: The North Face Betasso, Asics Cumulus 11, Asics Nimbus 11,
Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra; 2nd Row, L-R: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Asics Cumulus 12

TNF: his favorite brand EVER.

So that's how many running shoes he has.  So far, he's working well with Asics.  There's not much toes dying or gooey blisters to be popped.  If ever he has, it's probably from the distances he runs... like you know, I suppose 100 kilometers could really do that.

Now I can't run 5 kilometers.  But I can walk in 5 1/2-inch shoes.  People in my office could also testify that they've seen me trot in them.  For purposes of this photo I just arranged 7 of my prized beauties.  If Chips has his Asics, I have my Nine Wests.  I have about 4 pairs (two of which are here) and when I need beautiful heels that "agree" with my high arches, that's where I go.

I don't know, heels just make me feel like a princess with a devil's soul *insert evil grin*.

1st Row, L-R: Open-toe booties from Mango, Metallic sandals from Nine West,
Cage sandals from Zara, Basic black pump from Nine West.  2nd Row, L-R: Booties from Forever21,
Cage sandals from Nose, T-strap peep toes from The Shoe Shop HK

That's my 5 1/2-inch lovely in the middle.  And I'm proud to note that it's the
hubby who bought it for me when he went on a business trip to Malaysia.

I wonder if we'll ever have that running event where ladies race in high heels.  I will really, really want to do that.  Maybe I could win! (oh dear is that actually some inner voice from a competitive sportswoman?).  Shush you!

This is a clip from the Glamour Stiletto Run in Amsterdam.  At least 3.5inches heel?  I can SO do this!

maybe i should change my blog title

to something like, "i married an ultra runner".


BDM 102 2011: our test of patience

We started the post BDM 102 blogging with a rather emotional entry, and some photos.  And now here comes some kind of storytelling.  I'm sure there are a lot of other blogs out there already, so I'll try make this long read worthwhile :)


We got to Mariveles at around 7:30PM and unlike the first test run, there were already a LOT of people. So many support vehicles were lined up on the street.  This time, we were three in the support team.  We had a driver, so at least he and Cian could take turns resting.  

Given that we had already done the first 50k test run, we basically already knew what to expect for the first half.  But that really doesn't allay all your fears.  Something could still go wrong.  It was a new day. A different day.  It was raining, and I didn't know how that would affect things.  

Chips had a new race plan.  We reviewed it one last time, made some last minute changes and took our places.  Him at the starting line and us, ready to jump into our support vehicle once they're off and running.  

Up until the 50th kilometer, we were really making good time.  We even had a break at Burger Machine which was uber good.  It was looking on the up and up for the next stretch.

But then again, the universe will really test you.  There comes a point when it seems that a 5k interval would seem longer and longer.  And then you'd begin to question if you should've stopped 2 kilometers before, instead of really meeting him after 5 kilometers.  Maybe he won't notice.  I guess he wouldn't mind.  Better shorter than longer.

There was a part of me that wanted to stop earlier.  Especially when we were over 60 kilometers.  I feel bad for even doubting his capacity.  But as a wife, I would do anything to alleviate pain (I suppose this goes for all other support crews).  To make him feel better, to not have to wait and see if he'd make it.  Hard as it was, I shake this off and just really stop at our assigned marker.  Because you know, I just had to also believe that he really could do it.

The wait is AGONIZING to say the least.  And it gets much so when you're closer to the finish line.  The sun was scorching.  It's like it was screaming summer.  The memory of rain was totally erased from the night before.  It was so hot that we had to buy more ice for our cooler.  And we were even close to running out of his drinks and gels.  We'd park our van under a small shade and wait.  Every time, I would be too worried to even catch a nap.  I'd sit up even before my 10-minute alarm would ring.

Restless, I'd pop the back of the van and sit.  Looking on to see if the next runner would be him.  I don't know if those runners (those who turn out to be not him) would sense a hint of dismay in me.  I'd smile at them, say something like "just a bit more" or "___ kilometers to go".  And then it's back to waiting.  And then you really just think, it's so goddamn hard to be patient.

With less than 20 kilometers to go, it would also be a test of acceptance.  For Chips too, I suppose.  To already accept that the cramps would just not let him run.  We had to endure seeing him walk all that way, when we knew that he really, really wanted to run.  We'd say that it's going to be okay, you can do it.  Konti nalang, finish line na.

Amidst the whirlwind of juggling emotions, rationing what we had and the effort to put on a rainbow of positivity, we make it to the last stretch before the finish line.  We'd be spongeing Chips down with iced water every 1.5 to 2 kilometers just to help with the heat.  So for that last bend, I let Cian get off at the corner with the cooler and sponges.  Chips would like to still finish strong and he'll need that last bit of icy jolt.

I meet BR and other finishers and poise myself on the other side of the finish banner.  It is so relieving to see your runner finish.  So much that all the waiting, the worrying, the wild imagining of what-if scenarios... they all just poof.  Finally, you could really say to yourself that everything's okay.

Our BDM102 run is dedicated to our friend Patti's grandfather,
Dr. Norberto Samson, who survived the Bataan Death March of 1942.

what to do after the BDM 102?

Forget that race diet and EAT SISIG!  The day after the race, Team Chips celebrated by hopping on by to our fave sisig place, Aysee's.  Rice, beer, oily sinful goodness.  Now that's what I call a reward :)

The BEST sisig EVER, with egg and cheese.

Sizzling bangus.

Sizzling hotdogs.

I'm actually salivating as I'm posting this.  LOL.


5 Things I Learned at the BDM102

Bataan Death March 102k.  March 5-6, 2011.

Watching my husband recover from the run, and flashing back to all those moments spent waiting on the other side of the road, I was inspired to do a different kind of recount rather than my usual anecdotal storytelling (I'll probably do that later).  I'm setting the whiny, yammering part of me aside for a bit.  And I guess, letting the contemplating, reflective writer have a go.

I don't know if anyone would feel that I don't have a right to preach such life-lesson-ish things, being a non-runner.  But at that risk, I would like to write something inspirational (I do hope it turns out to be such).  Here goes:

- One: Do it for the right reason -

Do it for honor.  Do it for passion.  And selflessly so.  When BR gave the briefing that night of the start, he said something about being honest and true to one's self.  I knew that he was implying about cheating.  But that moment said so much more to me.

I would say that if you're doing this to prove that you are better than any of the runners around you, then that doesn't just feel right, doesn't it?  It just rolls off the tongue so wrong, you don't even want to read it.  Do it to challenge what you can do, and to discover how much more you are capable of.  Do it not because you have to do it, do it because you know you are destined to do it.  


Even for the support teams, do it not because you know your runner could do better than everyone else.  Do it because you know that it is your role to be the source of strength and inspiration, when your runner and other runners are just about to give up.  Do it because you share the passion.  And do it with as much honor and humility that your runner is filled with, with every painful step he or she takes.

I would think that if you do it for the right reason, you will finish with triumph.  Even if you finish first or last, or did not finish at all, you will feel rewarded.  And grateful.  You will not feel bad that you had to walk, or stop or take longer than you planned.  You will feel what you started with - honored to have run such a historical event, and still filled with passion that you're even thinking of doing it again.

- Two: You are very, very small -

The darkness.  The uphill climbs.  The beating heat.  The beauty that is the world.  It is so much more bigger than you.  Than all of us.  And it will find ways to humble you.  And make you realize that you are in fact, despite all your belief in yourself, something that's very, very small.

If you didn't start out with humility, going through 102 kilometers will I think teach you a thing or two about it.  And make you reflect on how broken you are, and how much you need things.  How much you need really simple things, that you may take for granted or have selfishly called "mine" on regular days.  Like a little shade from a tree.  Or a bottle of water.  Or a few grains of salt.  Or just a bit of sleep so you could see the next marker more clearly.

If you think you are so big, then you could've gone by not needing these little things.  Yep, the world will punish you.  And 102 kilometers of that will bring you to your knees.  No one is that big, not even us who were in cars supporting the runners.

That journey just downright taught us how to be humble and grateful.  For when a cloud decides to stroll away lower towards the earth to block the sun even just for a little bit.  For when other teams offer you an encouraging smile, words and even aid.  For other cars that forgive you for doing multiple U-turns because you missed your agreed kilometer marker.

The world and the life it gives us is amazing.  And it has a funny way of letting us not forget the bigness of it.

- Three: You just have to believe -

Especially if you are doing this ultramarathon for the first time, the fear of not knowing is just overpowering.  It also can feel rather intoxicating, channeling to a sense of excitement and a certain adrenaline rush.

I don't know, but after the 50th kilometer or so, when the body starts getting tired, and senses and reflexes wane, at some point you are just fueled by faith.  A belief that digs so deep that the unknown is forced to melt away.

When the heat of the sun started to just about break everyone down, and my husband said he's just going to walk all the way through, I just had to believe that we will get there no matter what.  Cramps, knots and all.  When he says he'll meet us after 2 kilometers, and I see such pain in him, I just had to believe that I'll see him come around the bend.  And that he may be walking, but at least he's still on his two feet.

I would have to share this belief with him, just in case he doesn't feel the same way.  The last 20 kilometers were the hardest.  And even if I really wanted to push him harder, I also had to believe that what we've done is already enough.

- Four: Know that you have done well -

BR also said during the race briefing to listen to your body.  I think it's very hard for an athlete to not push harder.  Because it's almost instinct to do so until you are completely broken.  It's like you are trained to work beyond everything and to treat pain like it was nothing.

It's excruciating for me to see the hubby walking, squinting because of pain and/or the harsh sun.  I would suppose it's the same for any support crew.  It's like, you really can't do anything more but be there.  And I would think that a runner would like to really run (or jog) rather than slowly walk.  But given how much that anyone's been through - given everything that you've put your body, cramping legs and all, through:

Do not punish yourself or hate yourself or walk in dismay.  Know that you have done well just by getting where you are.  Listen to what the world is telling you.  Through the air flowing through your dry lips.  Through the spasms and aches.  It is telling you that what you are doing is enough.

Not that it's telling you to give up.  Not at all.  Give up is far from it.  What you are doing is enough.  You are doing well.  And from doing well can you only feel that unearthly mix of pride and gratefulness.

- Five:  Be thankful for all the LOVE -

That weekend was filled with it, I would say.  Not the sappy, Valentine's decorated love.  All 102 kilometers were coated with that genuine unconditionality.  You have friends, parents, wives, husbands, brothers or sisters, even cousins.  All together, opening their hearts for this historical event in all of their lives.

I don't know if I could expound so much about it, because that's really what it is.  An overflowing of hearts.  Imagine having to go through this extreme journey for 18 hours.  I can't find any better fuel.  Or any better explanation, of why despite all the suffering and competitiveness, there was so much joy and camaraderie at the starting and finish lines (or whatever kilometer marker you're on, for that matter).

There was just so much love going around, and we were all reveling in it.


So to all BDM102 teams, to BR and his crew, congratulations and THANK YOU.  We are all truly blessed.  For Official Results, click on over to BR's blog.