Monday, December 20, 2010

Running to Win

Since I started running around March 2010, I've not really taken it seriously. I just do it because its the trend of the times. Just running around Bonifacio High Street in one loop then I'll go home. I took running religiously just last September 2010, after I read Dr. George Sheehan's book "Running to Win" which pumped me up with a lot of motivation to run for my health and fitness.

I was roaming around a book sale when I stumbled upon this book. The cover is very intriguing so I purchased it right away, not realizing that the price I paid for the book is actually a steal because even if you multiply it by a thousand folds, the price I've paid for this book will never match the things that I got out of it.

Dr. George Sheehan, according to the Foreword of the book he wrote was a world-class worrier. He worried that he hadn't written well enough, spoken well enough or run well enough, though no one had written, spoken and run better than him in his generation, carrying with him a 30 year tenureship in running and fitness, trying out all sorts of methods, disciplines and even psychological motivations to incorporate them and share them with the running community.

Dr. George Sheehan while doing a talk

What I love most about Dr. Sheehan's writings is that he wrote by experience. He always believes that every person is an expert of himself, giving the notion that every runners should listen to what his or her body is telling so running theories may be true, but it should be revised according to a runners' individual needs. Some may benefit to one concept, some may not. It's a matter of trying what works best for you, with a bit of customization on your part.

Running is Dr. Sheehan's drive for life. He never believes that it should be considered as a religion, in which I realize I was so wrong because that is what I am doing. He values family, friend, career and God so much. He never gives more time to running than the things that matters to him the most.

Dr. Sheehan while on a Cross Country Ultramarathon

After I finished reading the book I feel refreshed. I was about to stop running when I picked it up since I am losing motivation. That's when I decided I will run, because I have a purpose to win, I will run to win over my diabetes...

Yes, the book he wrote talks about running, but as I was reading in progression I realized that he is talking about running only 40% of the time and the other 60% was for other things like experiences, trainings, diet, theories, psychological and spiritual views. To sum it up, he talks about running in a holistic approach, making it one of the best book to read if you are looking for an inspiration and motivation to continue, and eventually do running to win, not only to finish first place but winning in the true essence of it.

"Success rests in having the courage and endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you are, however peculiar that may be. Then you will be able to say, I have found my hero and he is me."
-Dr. George Sheehan (1918-1993)

Happy running and Good vibes to everyone!

Pictures courtesy of :

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why Running?

Many people now are getting themselves into sports and they have plenty of reasons like for aesthetics and body contouring, bonding time with friends or just to have something to call a sport. They are being very conscious about their health and fitness, and I think it's just the right time since many of us really had bad lifestyles and habits. Not to mention, the abundant occurrence of such fatal diseases such as Cancer, Hypertension and my sworn enemy, Diabetes...

I was a professional couch potato since time immemorial. I was born fat, a chubby baby that everyone adores. I look so cute when I was a little child. Almost everyone can't resist my plump cheeks and will pinch me every time. I remember one time I went home from school my cheeks are all red because of the pinches I get from my classmates' moms, and even if I am a very playful child I compensate everything through eating. After my active childhood I started to be less active when I started schooling. I am so focused on my academics even in my primary years so playing outside is not on my list of activities anymore. I just experienced being slim for a while when I got Typhoid fever and it confines me to a hospital bed for a month. Well, after that, I'm back to my eating habits again. By the way, did I say I was cute? believe me I was! Then I don't know what happened after. lol! ^_^

My mother tried to get me into a diet regimen, in which I hated her for before because I feel she was limiting me of what I enjoy doing most. Eventually, she gave up on me. That's when I started to add pounds per pounds until I got so huge I can't even fit into children sizes anymore.

So much for my fat history (lol!). Going back, many people are asking me that of all the sport, why did I chose running? Well, here are some of my reasons...

1. Running is inexpensive - Comparing it to other sports like biking, mountain climbing etc. that requires costly equipments. For me, running is the most practical since I am just a student and I am not a well off person. You may say, yeah, running shoes are expensive but that's the only thing you really need to invest a big amount for.

2. Running can be done almost anywhere - As long as there is a pavement in which a person can walk on, you can run there. On the streets, vacant lots and ofcourse the most advisable are the parks and designated running areas like Bonifacio High Street and the likes.

3. Running improves the hand and foot coordination - Especially for a weakling like me who always stumbles down at unparalleled walkways, this is really a huge help. According to what I have read from The Runners Guide,
"Improved coordination is another worthwhile benefit which may be gained from running. This may seem surprising to many who assume it is not possible to gain these types of benefits from running simply because it is such a simple sport. However, there is some coordination involved in running. Trail running which involves running on unpaved trails especially requires a great deal of coordination. The uneven surface combined with obstacles such as rocks and tree roots can make trail running quite difficult. However, runners who regularly run on these types of services, quickly learn to maintain better control over their bodies to prevent tripping and stumbling while running. Even running on a flat surface which is paved can also result in improved coordination because it forces the body to work together to keep the runner upright and traveling in the correct path. Those who run regularly typically move more fluidly than those who do not run or engage in any type of regular exercise."
4. Running releases toxins in the body, making the skin look supple and smooth - This is the part I love best. I noticed that when I run, My skin becomes more translucent. I am a very oily skinned person so I always have acne breakouts but when I started running my breakouts started to minimize. I feel that my skin has a youthful glow. Promise!

5. Running is a great cardio workout, perfect for those who wants to lose weight - I benefit from this the most. If you have seen my before and after fatty picture, you will definitely agree. Have you seen an expert marathoner with extra flabs on the sides of their waist or huge bellies? So I need not explain further...

See the difference?

6. Running allows me to think clearly - This may be just a psychological effect but believe it or not I get good grades at examinations when I run a day before the test. I have done this for quite sometime too. I feel that reviewing after a good run makes my brain more of a sponge, it absorbs much information from my notes. Besides that, when I am making a decision or planning something, I find great ideas while running. Sounds absurd but yeah, I think clearer when my body is at work. I think my mind is moving with my body.

7. Running keeps my blood sugar in control - This is yet the best reason why I do running. Being a diabetic for 11 years tenures me of this terminal disease. I have tried running and checking my blood sugar in constant monitoring and I found out that my blood sugar is more in control when I do running rather than aerobics. Don't get me wrong, aerobics is a good form of exercise, but I benefit more from running. As what they say, every human being is different, its just that I found my perfect match.

While running around one great morning at my favorite place, Bonifacio High Street

These are just some of the reason I got, but I know there are more reasons why I do running. It's just like when people ask me why I love a person, most of the time when I try to find out all of the reasons, all I can answer back is... "Well, I just fell in love". ^_^

Good vibes to everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The First Race of My Sweet Life

I've been training now with my adiNation of Runners BHS Family for two consecutive Thursdays. They've been very vocal about joining races. Me? I just quietly listen. When one of my running mate asked me when is my race, I just smiled and said "I never had an experience joining a race". They looked at me in amazement.

It's kinda unusual, especially for me who is known as the brave, assertive type of person. But ofcourse everyone has their own fears.

Last Friday, by insisted runner's demand, I decided I will join Nike Club Run Manila 2010 on December 5, 2010, Sunday. After my work at 5pm, I headed straight to Nike Park BHS just to find out that the registration for the race just closed at 2pm. I was really pissed off but I guess its just not yet my time to race, maybe early next year...

I went to work Saturday without thinking about that race thingy. Though I envy those running mates of mine that will run at the Quezon City International Marathon and Nike Club Run Manila 2010.

Until I checked my phone at lunch break in the office. A text message I received says "Hi amanda, this is kulitrunner. Gusto mo sumali sa run tomorrow sa Nike? I can give you a slot just text me your infos..."

That night, I was so very excited. I requested for an extra half cup of rice from my mom, took my meds and went to bed. I set my phone's alarm at 5:00AM so I can have more time for my preparations.

As expected, my trusty mobile phone did its job. I prepared myself for the first race of my life as a Diabetic Runner. I had a hefty oatmeal breakfast and then I hydrated myself before going to the race. Bonifacio High Street is just walking distance away from my home so going there served as my warm up for the upcoming race.

I arrived 45 minutes before the gun start. I met up with a newly found friend, Kristine. It's her fourth race already, though she doesn't train or joined any running groups.

25 minutes before the gun start we went to the starting line. As the time goes near runners from different directions came into the same spot where we are in. The wide world became smaller and smaller that stretching is not possible anymore. Glad I've done mine early on. A Fitness First instructor lead the stretching exercise. When the clock hits 2 minutes before gun start, everyone is getting so hyped up, shouting, clapping and sounds of cheer were echoing, and now my fear is gonna start soon.

When the timer sets to zero and the gun shot were heard, the race officially started. The first five minutes, the road was so congested. I just kept my slow running phase. I try not to be pressured when someone runs pass by me. I just keep my speed in a way that I won't be pressured. After 15 minutes of nonstop running I noticed that the fast runners started walking, and I was already passing through them. That scenario kept my spirits up. This is what Coach Carina was talking about, she told me that some people are fast runners, but they have low endurance. Keeping it slow but controlled will get you ahead of other runners. I was all smiles then.

After the 2K run I felt tired so I decided to stop and walk. All the while I was just focusing on myself. I never felt this good. It's just like my training run with an adrenalin rush. After around three minutes of walking, I ran again.

The road I was running then was now wide enough for me to see whom I was running side by side with. I saw familiar faces that I always see when I train at BHS. I tried to take a glance to my back and I realized I was in the lead of almost two thousand people. I felt much better.

After the 3.5K run I felt that the right side of my waist is already aching. This is the one slowing me down but still I am keeping up with my speed. A light rain shower fell in the middle of my 4K run, I felt cold and I am having difficulty breathing. I feel my blood sugar is going down. My hands are shaking a bit already, I am coming to hypoglycemia. I closed my eyes for a while and I motivated myself that I can do this. I can finish this race. Glad the hydration station was nearby. I got to have a shot of a sports drink. Sugar is up again. I felt a lot better.

4.5K, 500 Meters to the finish line, my body is telling me it had enough, but I just can't afford to stop and give up. At the peak of a curve I saw the finish line. I don't know what happened. It's like I was taken over in automatic mode. I run so fast that I surpassed other runners who is a few meters away from the finish line. When I stepped on the line I felt so great. Call me dramatic but I was all teary eyed. I just wiped it off because I'm so ashamed that other runners might see.

I finished the 5K race at 39:55 minutes. I was holding my right waist because it was too painful already. The feeling of finishing was so great, and the best part is I was not the last one to get to the line.

After the race, there are lots of food and refreshments for the runners. The Nike toy was so cute as well. I got a Shazza!

I get to take some pictures from the event.

Nope, I'm not the winner of the race. But I feel like I am!

With my newly found friend, Kristine.

I even got the chance to meet and have a photo with one of my inspirations in running,
Coach Rio Dela Cruz! ^_^

After the race, I went home so very happy. I feel I can still run another kilometer if given the chance. I started writing about my experience in my laptop.

Though I didn't win the race and never even get to come close to winning, I am so happy because I feel like I am still a winner. I won over my fear of joining races and finishing last and I won over the feeling of fear that I won't be able to finish a 5K race.

I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Ms. Vima Mendoza who sponsored my first race. To Kristine Jose, a newly found friend. The RunRio Staff and Coach Rio Dela Cruz for organizing a great event, and ofcourse to my and aNR BHS Family (Coach Carina, Zinnia and Marvin) for being supportive in my endeavors.

My first run was so memorable, and I am looking forward to my next race soon! Early next year? or another one this December? I can't wait! ^_^

Good vibes to everyone! <3^_^<3>

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writings on my Tabula Rasa

“A Child is a Tabula Rasa”… I remembered hearing this quote from my professor in Human Development. It means that a child is a plain piece of paper, and each experience he has will be written on it, and eventually when he grows up, it will become the source of his personality.

I was born May 30th of 1984 at 10:40 in the morning, the youngest of three siblings. I was named Michelle, since its the title of the song that my father like very much. My mother described me as a very happy child. I require minimum supervision and I only cry if I want to eat or if I get frustrated over my wet nappies…

I grew up without my father. He left us for another woman. It’s a common story so I don’t feel anything special about it. My mother needs to work double time to provide the family’s needs. At that time, I was only six years old and believe it or not, I completely understand what is going on with my parents at that time.

For me, losing a father that time was no big deal because I am well loved by my family and keens. I was even adopted by my Aunt until I reach the age of seven, but eventually she needs to return me to my mom since she will be marrying an Australian and needs to migrate to Australia with him. I love her so much, she’s the one who taught me how to sing and dance in front of a crowd. I remember every time she had a visitor, she would always brag about me and let me prove that she is right. She brings out the natural performer in me.

My elementary school days are full of competitions. My teachers would always join me in contests, mostly on spelling bees and talent shows. I enjoyed it much since I made most of my lasting friendships there that I’m still keeping up to this moment.

Because of my academic excellence in elementary, I got into a Science High School… a place where most of my unwanted memories came from. From here I experienced fighting with a teacher that is so judgmental. She is always on the side of the pretty girls and I was left alone because she don’t like my looks. From then on, I started seeing myself as ugly. My high self esteem suddenly dropped to zero. I isolate myself from others and I only keep few trusted friends. On this time also, at my second year, I experienced collapsing without any reason at all. When I consulted a doctor, a heartbreaking news shattered me… I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes.

I felt hopeless at that moment. Fifteen years old with a terminal disease? and all that school problems in the way? well, only one thing comes into my mind… Suicide is the best solution!

I tried to commit suicide by jumping off at the building of the hospital where I was confined. But at the time I reach the edge of the rooftop, something is holding me back. I admit I am afraid to die so after a few attempts, I decided I should give up and just wait for the moment, I will die eventually anyway.

I transferred into a regular high school in the hope that I can graduate even if I am ill. But then again, my condition is getting worse. I need to inject insulin twice in school. My teachers and classmates are bothered by the mere look of my syringe. The school principal recommended that I should stop schooling and I have no choice but to agree…

I tried not to think of my condition and enjoyed what I though was my remaining days. I go out, meet people and attend seminars about diabetes. After sometime I got tired of insulin shots and decided to stop it. That night I saw my mom crying inside her bedroom. I was shattered. I felt that I hurt her so much because I decided to end my life by stopping medications.

Two years has passed and I’m still alive. I didn’t understand it too. So me and mom went to a doctor again to check on my condition. To their surprise, I wasn’t a juvenile diabetic, its only a type 2 NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) meaning, I can go and live with only oral medications. This findings brought up a light in my dark hope of survival. I can still live longer.

I started studying again, this time I took an acceleration test at Concordia College. The test said I belong to the 99% bracket scale of test passers and I read from the results that only three people got that average and I am proud to be one of them.

After that my UP Diliman life started. I took up a music course since I really love to hone my talents and skills in playing the flute and the guitar. I only made few friends there since my self esteem is just recuperating at that time. After a year and a half of studying there, I decided to take a degree first, since my mom requested me to do so. As the UP Policy applies, you cannot pursue a new course without shifting, and if you shift you’ll lose the first degree so I decided to file LOA (leave of absence) and find another school to take my new course in.

I pursued a BS Psychology degree at the University of Makati, hoping to graduate this coming March 2011...

I experienced working from various offices and I also became a call center agent sometime in my life. I encountered lots of flirting men in the office, even my boss showed interest in me. I’m glad I am good at handling temptations. I don’t know why but I find it impossible that somebody whose so damn good looking and intelligent would actually go for an ugly woman like me. It seems like the world is turning upside down. I honestly love the feeling of admiration, but never did I entertain them…

As of now, I already claimed my self esteem back, and yet, I still believe that I am the ugliest of all. If people complimented my looks, I always think they are just being polite. Maybe that’s the reason why I cover up every time I go to parties. I don’t like my physical self so I wear a mask to shadow my inferiority complex.

Running is my sport and my passion. It taught me so much about life... Discipline, Endurance, Perseverance, Patience, Play and Competitiveness. I've learned that when you have reached the peak of running and you wanted to stop, that's the time when you have to keep on running even more...

More than ever, I am now determined to lose weight and take my health more seriously...

Having diabetes really is a huge challenge for me as a runner, but with the help and support of my ANR BHS Family (adiNation of Runners, Bonifacio High Street) and Family, I am now inspired more than ever to have my first 10K run later next year!

Being who I am right now is the result of my past experiences in life. Though I can say I am now happy with who I am, I know I still have lots of experiences to take. I am always in the verge of meeting new people and knowing them because I believe that humans are social animals, we pick up lessons from the people we know and pile it up to make our own, a person that we want to be in the first place. Share what you have and be a blessing to every person that you will meet, touch their lives in a way that when they leave, they will take a piece of you with them. By doing this, even if you depart from this world, a part of you lives in someone’s memory. A person only dies when his memories are forgotten. If you are remembered, you live forever…

"I run not to win over other runners, I run because I want to win over Diabetes..."

Good vibes to everyone!