Raising Hope

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Balance Power Run:  Raising Hope
29 November 2009
Bonifacio Global City

NB Power Race 25K Nov 16, 2008

  NB Power Run 21K Nov 29, 2009
(photo taken by Rodel Cuaton)

Ah, the New Balance race. The 2008 version competes head-on with my Milo marathon for the honor of being my personal favorite. I was in my 3rd cycle of weight loss then and 5th cycle of elusive quest for love. By the end of the race, I was 30 lbs lighter and have found love. There in the hills of Clark I fell in love with Running. My New Balance Chronicles remain a personal favorite.

Sadly, the 2008 Powerrace marked the end of my progressive weight loss. I was heady in love with Running, but that love exposed my vulnerabilities and left me injured. I discovered I had a weak left foot, with almost no arch. But I surged on and my love of Running saw me through runner's knee, plantar fasciitis, mid-foot pains and calf tightness that literally rendered me unable to run. My leg structure, pains and injuries prevented me from my weight-reducing, daily short runs, and severely limited my attempt to run fast. Still, somehow my passion allowed me to do my first aquathlon, my first duathlon and my first marathon. The weight loss ebbed and flowed, but love intensified.

For the 2009 NB race edition, I was about 10 lbs heavier and at a start of another weight loss cycle. I hope it is for the long haul this time, and not just another short-sighted attempt to look good for the dating scene. Definitely I am wiser and more grounded. Along the way I stumbled on love, but the one that remained true and worth-pursuing was that I discovered in Clark in 2008. I may be a bit heftier this time, but I have a stronger left foot now - a foot that survived the pounding of a marathon. I come into this race with about 1.5 months of no racing  since the Subic Marathon and very little running, in the hope that this time it will be my right foot which will get stronger. I had this quixotic notion that even with very little running, I would race the hills of Fort the way I did it in Clark. The Subic race also left me emotionally drained and I wanted to take a respite from running to understand why I fell in love with it in the first place.   While the NB race will be in the Global City, the memory of Clark will bring back the joy of running.

For the 2009 race I had this primary mantra: Love running more. This was written in the 2008 singlet - a personal favorite I wear only in meaningful runs. At km 18 in Clark I discovered the pure joy of movement that running gives. This time I want to take that love into a higher level. I want to enjoy that exhilaration not just for a few kilometers but hopefully for longer distances.  I want to race and finish exhilarated, not spent and wasted. I kept reminding myself to take my mind off the problematic foot and tight calves, and to focus instead on running from the core. I want to run not just from my physical core, but also from the core of my being. I want to run like the way I swim. Effortless and with complete and heightened control of my senses. Where I can relax if I want to, or speed up if I am up to the challenge. Where the mind, body and heart are one.

For most part of my 21K race, I got what I wanted. The course was tough and I had to restrain myself for a full marathon a week after, but many times along the way I was near that love  of running I came for. Along the way I would meet up with Ian, someone I consider as my multi-sport batchmate.  For most part, Ian and I chatted about our multi-sport plans and strategies. At km16 he asked, "What time do you want to finish?" Recalling what I said at the start that I will do a 'play it by ear pace', I said "I don't really know. But if we made it in 2h:30min, I would treat breakfast." We both ended that statement with a chuckle. 

Ian, who is several notches stronger and faster than me, noticeably picked-up pace but remained near enough for me to catch-up. It was mostly like this for the last 5kms. I knew at that time I had more to give, but I restrained myself in my view of my long rest and eventual marathon, but one thing I did was to not to give up on the chase. I remembered the tempo runs I did with friends for my Milo marathon. During those runs, which our small group fondly called liempo runs, Luis our strongest runner would normally lead at a blistering pace, followed either by Bong Y or comeback runner Pio. I would huff and puff to the best of my ability. Several rounds of that brought me to a 5:16 marathon finish, at least 14 minutes faster than the best I could have mustered alone.

With Ian as company and pacer, I managed to finish the half-marathon in 2:37:16. About 5mins  off my personal best, but fairly decent given the route and my circumstances. It was not a spectacular finish but it was what I needed. I needed hope that races will be great again and that my running will improve to a higher level. In the New Balance race I did find hope.

For next year, I think it would still be a chase. Chasing after better times, leaner figure, happier experiences. I don't know who among friends I would pace with, or which runners I would befriend along the way. I know I still have to shed a lot of weight, and put in hours of training and buckets of conviction, but for sure the bar must be reset. True love does not stagnate; it broadens, deepens or acquires new meanings. Love changes, hopefully for the better.


Sam TheRunningNinja November 30, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

Agree rico, time you spent with training will define your finish time. And as you train, you'll begin to notice you start to lose more. I myself train more to get better times, and losing weight in the process is actually a secondary pleasure.

Hopefully by next year, we can run and pace with us, luis,patt,jinx,marvs and mark.


ps: I strongly believe you brought your weighting scale last Thursday to double-check if I did lose 10lbs. I saw you were disappointed when you saw me that I did lost 10lbs(hahaha), now if I only got rid of my heavy,oversize,perspiration soaked shoes during weight-in, it could be -11 lbs. hahahaha! malapit na awarding!!

Rico Villanueva November 30, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

Haha. Your post made my day. Haha. Yep, we train more to get better times. Sayang wala nang Mizuno di ko na pwede ikaw habulin sa clinic. Haha.

And Sam, sa iyo na ang 5K, 10K, 15K at 21K, pero sa akin ang marathon at ang BLC. Wahaha! :-)

Marvin Rae December 1, 2009 at 8:34 AM  

nice account of your race, rico. good luck on your next race! :)

Sam The Running Ninja December 1, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

I know, I really suck big time at 42km....this is a struggle and I'm still mystified by it.

However on BLC, you'll be disappointed again sorry :)

Amado L. Castro, Jr. December 1, 2009 at 3:32 PM  

Dear Rico - 02h37m16s is not bad! However, you mentioned you are getting heavier, does this mean you already surrender for the biggest loser challenge?

Rico Villanueva December 1, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

Hey Marvin, thanks. Idol kita sa BLC. Haha.

Hi Sir Amado. Thanks. I am heavier now compared to last year, but I have lost a lot in the past month actually. My NB 2008 weight was my lowest in like 3 years. So yes, I am still in the running for BLC!

Sam, mas physically and emotionally mature lang kasi ako sa iyo. Haha. I better train harder in marathon dahil for sure iiwanan mo na rin ako. Mr. Sheerwill actually admires your determination. So let's keep pushin' :-)

Julius December 2, 2009 at 12:47 AM  

Hi, Rico. It's uncanny how you came up with this post at a time when I too am trying to rekindle, if not rediscover, my love for running. Since my miserable finish at the Timex 21k, running (and blogging!) has become a bit of a chore. At the Philstar Celebrity Run, I hope to revisit the reasons why I fell in love with the sport in the first place. Your post, I feel, has me on my way to doing that. Thanks a lot.

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

Hi Rico. You've made a lot of headway since last year's NB Power Race. I know that you're trying. The good thing is that you're enjoying the running and sharing it with all of us. Keep working at it...believe me it will happen.

Take care my friend!


Gingerbreadman December 2, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

Once again wonderfully written article my friend. Congrats on your comeback race, let this be the end of all cycles , and let's start working on that sub-2 :P

Rico Villanueva December 3, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

Hey Julius, glad you could relate. Those moments, they happen, but the good ones far outnumber them. So let's keep running (and blogging) :-)

Thanks Wayne :-)

Hey GBM, thanks. Sub-2hrs? Whoa, sub2:30 muna. Haha.

Alfred December 4, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

Great post, Rico!
There's no doubt you will get better whether you lose weight or not and/or find love along the way. A person with such love for the sport coupled with dedication is destined for something great. You'll see.

Hotlegs Runner December 10, 2009 at 5:13 AM  

hey rico! counting your daily calorie intake helps too. I signed up at the lance armstrong's livestrong site (my daily plate). If you have an iPhone, they have an application too. They have calorie info about everything there. Even if it's kare-kare or Marty's Chicharon. I've lost 5lbs. since I signed up last month.

Cheering for you and adding you to my blogroll =)

TIMMY SEBASTIAN January 6, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

rico, si vicky ba yun asa likod mo sa unang picture ng NB mo? :D hehe

Rico Villanueva January 6, 2010 at 9:10 AM  

Hi Tim. Nope, it's my friend Karen (runpinayrun) :-)

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