Be Strong and Courageous

*** Time Period: January 2011 ***

Living Words

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

These living words sunk deep in my heart during the Prayer and Fasting Week of Victory Christian Fellowship in early January 2011, and it soon became the cornerstone of my faith goals this year 2011, which again included losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. I have a strong faith that this time, I will finally attain my objective.

Diet Program

It helped that I chose to have a liquid fast (meaning I will take in only water, milk, juices, etc. as nourishment) during the 7-days Prayer and Fasting Week as it augmented my diet program.  I did not run during these days for obvious reasons.

After the fasting week, Nestlé Nesvita was introduced to my diet. I would substitute a meal a day for Nesvita, and strictly imposed fish and vegetable meals for the remaining two. Actually, sometimes, I would drink only milk (non-fat high calcium) for breakfast and eat fruits or vegetable salad for dinner. Meat is only allowed during Sundays. The key to smooth adjustment is a strong determination and gradual implementation. You see, as early as December 2010, I slowly reduced my intake of oily and fatty food, including softdrinks, and began accustoming myself to fish, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.

Equally important is a cautious progress of my running activities, religiously sticking to a program from Adidas miCoach, even if sometimes I felt like I can still go on and continue training. Besides Asiatown IT Park, I also practice at Abellana CCSC oval. Towards the end of January, I decided to join two (2) races – a 5K and a 10K.

USC-COCAAI Run 5K (Jan 22 2011)

A fun run organized by our alumni, I figured to improve on my second race attended. Right after gun start, I immediately pushed myself as hard as I can and ran the first 3 km at 6:00/km pace. Then, at the return route, I found it tough to run uphill on M.L. Quezon St., near National Transmission Corporation (NTC). I was huffing and puffing until I started walking as I passed by Family Park. I walked for about 100 meters, catching my breath, before I started running again towards the finish line inside the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus (USC-TC) grounds.

5K Finisher @ USC-COCAAI Run

I clocked in 00:33:39, a new personal record (PR) for me! Wooohooo! When the winners were announced, if I remembered it right, the third placer finished the race in 31 minutes. I felt I have a chance if only I didn’t slowed down in the uphill area. But still I’m satisfied I have a new PR!

Lesson learned: Include uphill running in trainings.

PLDT-Smart 10 Miler 16K (Jan 30 2011)

As mentioned above, I wanted to run a 10K race before January ends, and this fun run seemed to be perfect for my schedule. But when I went to claim my race number and singlet, I was surprised to know that I’m not registered! What happened?!?! They refunded my registration and I was disappointed at how they organized, or lack of it, the event! Alas, it turned out to be one of the many shortcomings of this occurrence!

Good thing a friend of mine decided not to join the race and gave me his race number and singlet. The problem is – he registered for the 16K category! What?!?! My longest run at this point was only 12km and it was a month ago! My trainings were designed for a 10K run! Can I finish this distance?!?!

I decided to give it a try. Since I don’t have the necessary preparations, I thought I should provide some protection for my legs just in case, and bought a nice pair of compression shorts – CW-X Expert Conditioning Shorts. Ever since then, I would wear these compression shorts for every run beyond 10 kilometers.

Now on to the race, I courageously began to run after gun start. I jogged at a relax 8:00/km pace for the first 4km, then accelerated to 7:00/km pace for the next 4km. I dropped back to 8:00/km pace after turning point but only for the next 2km. By then, I should have finished my planned 10K run at 01:16:10.

The next 4km was the hardest for me. First of all, it was already beyond what I have trained. I managed to do 500 meters walk – 500 meters run intervals only. And secondly, because I can’t find any water stations during this stretch! From USC Seminary to Escario St. – No Water!!! What a race!!!

Finally, I found one near Capitol that I drank my heart out! From thereon, I decided that I’m gonna unleash my final push and ran the remaining 2km at 8:00/km pace. I reached the finish line and became a “Juicy Cologne Finisher” after 02:10:41. I survived, but not after near exhaustion and very sore knees and ankles! I was lucky my wife Espie was with me (she actually joined the 5K route as bandit) because she had to drive the car home – I can’t move my legs anymore!

It was a “not so good” experience but still I am happy I started and finished the race! Despite of all the difficulties, I have faith that I will be victorious because my GOD is with me. Oh, and by the way, at January’s end, I weighed 12 pounds lighter at 208! Thank You LORD!

Juicy Cologne Finisher @ PLDT-Smart 10 Miler 16K
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