Surviving The Dreaded Attack

*** Time Period: February 2011 ***

Getting To Know My Feet

After pushing myself to the limit in the PLDT-Smart 10 Miler, I decided to rest for a week before running again. During this week, I researched the internet about the discomfort that I felt on my feet, particularly a lingering pain on my ankles and heels. I found out that I’m flat-footed, had a ‘valgus’ leg axis (knock knee), a heel striker, heel pronator, has poor flexibility on my right ankle joint due to abnormal biomechanics of my musculoskeletal system and my right knee internally rotates when I run, leading to a recommendation that I need a motion control with moderate to maximum cushioning running shoes! Whoa! Sounds like I went to a doctor but I just found this site by Mizuno. The irregular analysis on my right knee and right ankle were due to past injuries, I think. I suffered a torn knee ligament twice already while my right ankle was sprained and twisted for countless times, all due to basketball.

My surfing also introduced me to the world of barefoot and minimalist running. But I never dig in that deep. It’s more on admiration for those barefoot and minimalist runners only.

SM 2 SM Run 12K (Feb 13 2011)

12K Finisher @ SM 2 SM Run (photo by Dr. Christian Enricuso)

A week before Valentine’s Day, my wife Espie was hospitalized and she was still confined the night before race day. But she encouraged me to run this race. I was willing to give it up yet she recognized this was important to me. And so I ran. See how lucky I am!

I ran with my office buddies Aldennis and Marlon. It was our first time to run at the South Road Properties (SRP) area and we enjoyed every scenery of it! I targeted to finish the 12K category in 1 hour and 30 minutes, pretty decent for me considering I lack sleep, being in the hospital for three (3) days. I maintained between 7:00/km to 8:00/km pace all throughout, although I felt a nagging pain in my right knee when I reached 6 km. But I managed to recover and went on to complete the race right on target – 01:30:13. Wooohooo!!!

And when I got back at the hospital, Espie was already sitting and eating and watching TV; she had just been cleared for discharge by our doctor. Another wooohooo!!!

Saved By The Bulb Syringe

After a successful 12 km fun run, I was downed by sinusitis 3 times. My nose is usually stuffed with mucus every time there is climate change. It’s been an on-and-off thing since I was 10 years old. The headache it caused was so painful that I applied a total of 6 days sick leave, I think, from the office and went to an Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat (EENT) physician. The good doctor told me that there are nasal polyp inside my sniffer and it requires surgery to remove them. Surgery?!?! I don’t want to undergo any surgery anymore! You see, I have minor surgeries in the past, involving my feet and gums on different occasions. I so dislike being knifed, as everybody does!

My Bulb Syringe

I researched the internet for an alternative and thank GOD I found one! The procedure is squirting lukewarm saline water inside the nostrils using a bulb syringe (available in leading drug stores at a cost of less than P50). The feeling was like sea water entering our nose while swimming on the beach, and the slimy liquid voluntarily flows out from our snout afterwards. Now, this is old school wisdom, don’t you think?!?! I would perform the home-made procedure once every 2 weeks, coupled with increased intake of Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, and I have not been bothered by sinusitis or nasal polyp again, so far.

My February also gave me new running partners for my Sunday long slow distance (LSD) runs in Sarsi and Marlon. We initially conquered the 3 bridges of Metro Cebu – the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, Marcelo H. Fernan Bridge and Cansaga Bay Bridge.

All in all, even though I encountered sickness during the month, I ran a total of 60 kilometers – a 28% increase from January. To top it all, I lost another 4 pounds – I weighed 204 pounds by February’s end! Wooohooo!!! Thank You LORD!

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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

From Discouraged to Encouraged

*** Time Period: July to December 2010 ***

One Foot Forward

After my first fun run, I immediately started training, but only mild because it’s just once or twice a week, and aimed for the 10K category in the Run, Race and Reach: Pilipinas 25K International Marathon. My training ground is still at Asiatown IT Park.

By this time, I must say that I still don’t have the proper diet. I’m still eating unhealthy food and eating it a lot!

My faith goal remains the same: to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. I already have a foot forward because I’m starting to improve on my runs – over time I increased my runs without walk breaks from about 2km to 3km to 4km until it reached 6km! My average pace, though, is at 8:00+/km. Good job, I guess! But I’m finding it hard to change my food choice and volume of food intake. To feel better, I psyched myself, “that’s why I run, so that I can eat whatever I want.”

Run, Race and Reach: Pilipinas 25K International Marathon 10K (Aug 2010)

In what could have been my most anticipated race turned out to be a “non-appearance” for me! I arrived at the starting line very late, at around 5:40 AM, when the elite runners for the 10K category are beginning to arrive at the finish line. I woke up at 5:00 AM, the gun start time! I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t go out of my car and just proceeded to go back home.

You see, the night before race day, I didn’t know that we have a homeowners meeting in our subdivision. I can’t say “no” because it would be my first time to attend such meeting. The gathering ended up at 12 midnight, and there’s still some chit-chat going on before I finally got to rest at 1:00 AM.

Lesson learned: Sleep early the night before race day and wake up early on race day!

Alarming Executive Check-Up Results

I didn’t join any race after my “boo-boo” experience not because of it, but because I got complacent and felt unmotivated. There were weeks that I got zero mileage in running. Add to that the fact that my diet is still uncontrolled, unbalanced and unhealthy. And we’re just a few weeks away from our annual executive check-up in the office. As compared to last year, I felt more confident I’ll get better results because I’m more active and hooked to running.

We were examined by one of the best hospital in Cebu and after a week the results came out. To my surprise, I got so many medical findings! Findings that are normally associated with no proper diet and no exercise lifestyle. I was so discouraged and disappointed I tried to find other options that will make me achieve my primary objective.

I prayed to GOD to give me wisdom to choose what to eat and bestow upon me self-discipline to control what I eat. I searched through HIM the motivation and encouragement that I need to remind me everyday that I will live only in accordance to HIS will – and being healthy is a part of it.

Answered Prayers

It was so timely that Espie and I will have a short vacation in Singapore with our closest friends last November 2010, a month after the executive check-up. I was able to unwind and relax and start all over again. And before our flight back to Cebu, I was blessed with an iPhone4, the phone I so desired since its release. Little did I know that it will play a big role in my running activities. Why? Because it has many downloadable applications that are related to running. My favorites are Adidas miCoach and Runmeter – both of which I am still using for my trainings until now.

short vacation in Singapore

And I found www.dailymile.com, a site for runners, cyclists, swimmers, athletes, etc. It is like a journal for my running workouts and it has features that keep track of my posted mileage and activities. Plus, I gained new friends from it – fellow runners from Cebu whom I haven’t met yet but are kind enough to give you motivations and advices online.

All these, I believe, are GOD’s answers to my prayers! And because of these, I feel like I am now ready to start anew. I can’t wait to begin a more serious training, a more focused running, a better motivated drive to have proper diet, and a much determined person to succeed.

My new found resolution jump started in December 2010. Amidst the parties that I attended, I must say that I controlled my appetite and ate only what is required. Ok, I lied! I ate a little bit more of “lechon”… but I found time to run a decent total of 40 kilometers for the month despite the very busy and hectic schedule. In the end I am happy because I got to start working for my faith goal again. Add to that was a little inspiration because when I weighed in at New Year’s Eve, I improved to 220 pounds. Not bad, I guess! At least, I improved from 230+ pounds 10 months ago. Thank You LORD!

New Year’s Eve @ Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith.