Balance and Restraint

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I registered in the 2012 New Balance Power Run for sentimental reasons. The 2008 version after all is where I finally fell in love with running. The earlier versions on the other hand taught me tough lessons about race preparation, nutrition, cramps and blisters.

Honestly, I am not physically fit for this race. Just a week ago I got the shock of my life when my perennially clear medical results suddenly displayed warning signs. I expected obesity and maybe high blood sugar; instead I got high blood pressure and a fatty liver on top of, or more on account of obesity. Stress and maybe age has caught with me.

The race goal is simple: start the race, burn fat off that liver. The DNF rule is simple: stop at Any Sign of dizziness, mid-section discomfort, or highly elevated heart rate or blood pressure. The race plan is run-walk, hopefully till the finish.

I would have wanted to savor the mass race start, but the race started 4:20am when the NB website said 4:50am with 10 minute allowance for late start. I managed to park before 4:50am and start at 4:59am.

I ran on descents and walked on ascents. I was by my lonesome at the start, but soon enough I was in the company of 10k and 5k racers. It was crowded but I preferrred that over the solitude. It was inspiring to see heavier and older runners trying to win the health battle. Pleasant distractions were the tall and leggy Solenn Heussaff and Isabelle Diaz.

Going up the Kalayaan flyover I was by my lonesome again. While I am comfortable with solitude, I really wanted the crowd experience that day. I simply decided to smile at incoming (actually returning) runners. It was nice to see old familiar faces. Heartwarming were the cheers from strangers, egging me to continue when clearly I was way behind.

I was doing with my run-walk strategy along Gil Puyat, fast catching up with the rest, until the sun reared its head. It was particularly hot that day. Normally, I thrive on heat, overtaking runners in the process. Heck, I did the August half-ironman run and the September CDO-Dahilayan ultramarathon in the heat of the midday sun. But today was not a day for heroics. I came there to burn fat, not to snuff the life off me via stroke. .
So I walked. Brisk-walked. Truth is, brisk walk is harder than jog, but I have no choice. If sitting in an air-conditioned room I register BP of 140/100, how much
more if I am fatigued and sun-fried? With years of Garmin usage I can guess with relative accuracy my heart rate. I am clueless with blood pressure though.

I wanted to throw in the towel at 20k atop the hot flyover. I could not run to shorten my suffering and my mind feared that every moment I was there I was stressing my circulatory system (real or not). But if i stop I would have to board that ambulance which are actually trailing runners behind me. Yes I did catch up with two runners with my brisk walk-jog mix. Compromise: walk till BHS even if its a DNF.

Surprisingly, I ended up walking the whole route to the finish. I supposed I was buoyed by greetings of marshalls. Kaunti na lang, they keep repeating. This pattern continued until km 23. I guess I will complete it. I actually managed to overtake 3 more runners in the last kilometer.

I finished. Made it in 4:25:25 according to my Garmin. I got my medal. The race clock was already down and finisher kit distribution has ended. The crowd has dissipated, but my journey back to health has just began.

Thank you God for protecting me out there


daytripper1021 November 11, 2012 at 4:04 PM  

Nice recap Rico! Wishing u all the best in your road back to good health!

Rico Villanueva November 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM  

Thanks Roelle. Hope to catch up with you soon.

deemenrunner November 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM  

wow a new post from one of my favorite bloggers! welcome back sir! and congrats on the race finish.

Rico Villanueva November 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

Hey deemenrunner, salamat sa comment. Nakakataba ng puso. Pag na-high blood ako, kasalanan mo. Haha....serisouly, I hope to blog more. It is good for the health too :-)

NOEL November 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM  

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

Rico Villanueva November 14, 2012 at 1:15 AM  

Thanks Noel :-)

Triathlon in Cebu November 21, 2012 at 7:47 PM  

Very Inspiring Story bro,i've had a great time reading thru your posts. glad you've had yourself your HRM to check if youre doing good and be able not to hurt yourself.

Rico Villanueva November 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM  

Thank you Don Rey, triathlete in Cebu. Honestly, I didn't wear my HRM during the recent Power Run. I kinda memorized my heart rate in the past. But may be my heart rate has changed in recent times, so thanks for reminding me about the monitor. Will consider it in my QCIM 21km run.

Triathlon in Cebu November 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM  

No Problem Bro Rico. ;)

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