Great Things Start From Small Beginnings...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In my case, it began with a 5K.
In Baguio. September of 2003
Milo Marathon Provincial Elimination

A female friend and rowing mate wanted to qualify for Milo marathon (half-marathon?) finals and the remaining chance she had was to do it in Baguio. She was pestering a few of her dragonboat teammates to accompany her in Baguio. I was one of the unfortunate few. When my dragonboat carpool mate said she had 2 free room accommodation in Camp John Hay, I immediately said yes for I haven't stayed there yet. In the end five of us went to John Hay - our race 'promoter' friend A, two party loving girls W and her friend (both intent on enjoying Baguio), and two guys fooled into joining the Milo 5K - myself and teammate C.

I was not sure about my buddy C, but my 5k race was just incidental to our Baguio trip. For me it was just one item in our itinerary - like visiting the butterfly garden or eating by the Cafe By The Ruins. Night before the race, I think our serious running friend A was sleeping early, while two party loving girls and their willing escorts (C and I) were surveying the Baguio night scene in some club imbibing music and sipping beer.

My first ever road race was a disaster. Designated driver, I woke up late and arrived late. Sorry A, because of us, you probably lost an opportunity to qualify. Without warm-up and scurrying to catch up, I ended up spraining my ankle in the first 500m (uphill climb out of Burnham park) and had to limp my way - through killer hills of Baguio - for almost an hour (59 minutes to be exact - how's that for a 5K PR?).

But what that 5K did was to plant a potent seed in me. Sheer will was probably discovered there as I forced myself to finish despite the sprain. Disappointed with my time and irate that I had to argue my way to get my finisher shirt (because the shame-faced and ignorant I did not pass through the finish line chute), I vowed to race again. On hindsight Mr. Rudy Biscocho, thank you for being a stickler for rules and refusing to give me the shirt. It made me badly wanting to redeem myself. Mr. Pat Goc-Ong of Milo, thank you too for relenting to my persistent "But I finished the race so I deserved the shirt" line and giving me a finisher shirt and a certificate.

In a few hours I will be going up to Baguio once again for a race. It is a Botak 21K race actually, but when I run the hills of Baguio once more, I will have my Milo 5K in mind. I am not aiming for a faster half-marathon time, I simply want to redeem myself in Baguio. This time, I hope to run. This half-marathon - my fourth in a span of 3 months - is also preparatory for a bigger and loftier aim. In July 2003, I hope to cap my six-year on-off-on-off love affair with running with a full marathon. It took a long while, I know, but I am ready this time. I consider my Baguio trip as my pamamanhikan.


sfrunner May 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

Hi Rene. What a post. You endured and completed it. Now we know about Sheer Will!

Good luck this weekend at Baguio!

Bong May 22, 2009 at 9:00 PM  

First thing, I apologize for laughing after reading the part where you argued for your finisher medal, because I thought I must have the record for the slowest first time 5k finishing time of 39 minutes among us runner bloggers. Now I know it's probably yours (lol). I admire your not quitting on running after that disastrous first 5k race. Your story is one of persistence, determination, hard work and no quit attitude. You really inspire me and I guess a lot more people. Good luck and enjoy the race.

sfrunner May 23, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

Hi Rico. I thought I had posted here but guess I didn't. Anyway, what a first 5K! Now we know sheer will! Have a good run this weekend.

i2runner May 23, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

Rico, considering it's your first time to actually run, I think completing a 5K race is a huge accomplishment. To run it in a hilly course with altitude of 4,900 feet is even more amazing.

Good luck to you and to team tomorrow in Baguio. Have fun and have a nice weekend there!

Rico Villanueva May 25, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

Hi Wayne...yup, sheer will started in Baguio.

Ei, Bong, I am very proud of that 59min 5K PR :-) Glad you had a nice laugh dahil pinaghirapan ko yan. Inspiration? I guess everybody inspires everyone else in some manner. Here to more impressive PRs for us.

Hello Natz, ambisyoso at sira-ulo kasi ako eh - Baguio run pa for my race debut....I am happy to report though that I run about 90% of the heartbreaking half-marathon route of Baguio. Hope you can experience running in Baguio too. It's punishing and blissful at the same time.

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