Brand New 365 Days

Just like that here comes another fresh set of twelve months. The past year was interesting and fast wherein lots of things happened that I could only recall all with the help of Facebook’s a-year-ago-today feature or Timehop app. That year is over in what feels like a blink of an eye with its ups and downs making me believe that 2018 was a rollercoaster ride we all enjoyed and survived.

Now it’s day 1 of 2019 and hopes are all up. I have no written resolutions, a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, but I look forward to a better year ahead. By God’s grace I wish our whole family good health and harmony. Improved finances is of course welcome.

The second year we’ve been breaking and changing this Lego calendar.

Our routine resets this week. No more Christmas songs–though it’s tempting to still play them on Spotify. Everything goes back to normal whether we like it or not. Work resumes and the rat race begins once more. Although I’m one of those who take one day at a time, I want my days busy. The busier the faster the week ends. Repeat 52 times.

So for the nth time, I say happy new year. I will keep my fingers crossed and see what the next 365 days have to offer.

***

Some images from last night’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Food at home was minimalist just how I liked it to be. Arriving from Bacolod with barely a day to prepare also helped.
Ground was muddy from days of rain and it was not wheelchair-friendly so some relatives dropped by to pose with Marcus.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (All’s well that ends well.)

Advertisements

Fat Or Thin: GOrun or Free RN

Christmas vacation and the tug of war between staying in bed and running is ongoing. The good thing about anticipating the dilemma is that I have made sure that I’ll have a reason to get up early and burn whatever I had the other day.

We are on our day 3 back where I grew up, Bacolod, wherein I’ve already eaten more than I would or should’ve have weeks prior to this trip. But God is good, I quickly recovered from cold and survived a cat bite and so I’m back to my running form.

The next day after we landed I tested for the first time my first ever Skechers GOrun shoes. I decided to get it after several failed attempts to find a pair for my flat feet at the Nike factory depot in Paseo, Sta. Rosa.

Typical Skechers thickness.
The sole reminds me of Hoka.

Surprisingly I liked GOrun. Firstly, it is cheaper than any Nike pair I was looking at. Secondly, this Skechers cushions like a pillow. Two days running with it, 15K total distance, and my feet aren’t hurting. P3,700 (discounted) seems worth it.

Then there’s Santa who gives to both naughty and nice. Yesterday I got a nice pair of Nike running shoes. It was a Free RN 2018 which I have been wanting because of its weight but reviews say it’s not for flat-footed runners like me so I avoided it. And now that I have it, I’m not complaining. Few minutes after this dark chocolate Swiss Miss and puto for breakfast settle I’ll go out run using it. Plan is to go slow and see how it feels. Wish me luck.

Santa knows my size.
The second shoes I’m keeping the original lacing out of the box. I’m becoming lazy.

***

Mood: 1/10 (Christmas so far has been fun.)

Evia has Evolved

We broke routine this weekend. Christmas is getting closer and yesterday’s advisory on SLEX’s LED monitors showed hint that grinches, I mean shoppers, are flocking to Alabang onwards. But luck was on our side this time.

Our recent plan to check out Evia Lifestyle Center once more was timed right. For the first time I drove coming from Calamba to Daang Hari via MCX and parted ways from motorists on SLEX who were then pacing slowly like reindeer-less Santa sleighs. Traffic to this mall in the middle of the Villar-owned properties was light with only a slight hitch at the toll gate. Thanks to RFID we got through faster than those queuing at the cash lanes.

Evia has evolved and improved a whole lot since we first set foot two years ago. It now has more stores and more parking spaces. Basement parking is also now open and there’s an extended parking area across the mall close to Petron gas station where free shuttle service to and from the mall is available from 10 AM until 10 PM.

Evia Lifestyle Center is part of the growing Vista Mall chain and construction is ongoing. I realized this must be the reason some of the guards are as confused as us. We asked a couple of them for directions to the cinemas and we were advised we can take the escalators with Marcus in his wheelchair. We obliged despite protest but soon figured there are two elevators we should’ve used. First is the one that’s only until the 2nd floor and another that reaches the cinema level.

Evia’s 3rd level offers more than just movies. We discovered after spending a thousand for two persons for dinner that there are cheaper alternatives like pizza, pasta, burgers, churros, and even street food snacks. No regrets though as Bulgogi Brothers served us a nice hotpot plus the staff were very accommodating.

Evia has a newly-opened iMax cinema but Marcus has his mind set to the new Fortnite season and was also anxious to get back home to see our dog which is why we skipped the movies this time. Anyway I’m sure we’ll be back some other time soon.

Evia’s Christmas decor beats the Ayala malls’ we’ve visited.
The tight elevator makes good effect.
At Bulgogi Brothers. Away from fatty pizza and burgers.
Cinema area looks nice.

***

Big question: what’s with malls that they would rather use a PWD elevator than build a ramp?

Evia’s wheelchair/stroller elevator.

Ayala Town Center has this similar elevator which remained broken until our last visit and it was the reason I didn’t like going there anymore. Hopefully they already fixed it is our access to the cinemas, North Park, and the sports store that sells nice shoes. Wink, wink.

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Weather’s nice but I got cold to deal with.)

Live The Beat

Marcus collected our Fitbars and finisher medal.

Run with music? It took me only a couple of days to decide that this is the second official running event I’d do this year the first time The Music Run PH appeared on my Facebook timeline. The words discounted registration rate for early birds was also a come-on. It was only July then but I could already smell November immediately after I filled in my personal details and clicked submit.

The next runs were soon more purposeful. My plan was to beat the 10K PR I did in February when I joined 7-11’s running event. I finished it after an hour and 6 minutes but I knew I can do better.

The twist came though when Marcus got the hang of running with me few months later. He must have loved the feel of his wheelchair moving faster that it would at home or in the malls and so he’d say yes whenever I ask if he’d like to go out and run with me. He got hooked so the training strategy changed.

I got this.

I wasn’t really sure then if organizers of The Music Run PH would grant my request but I sent a message anyway. Their response was quick, they said yes I could bring Marcus with one simple rule–stay on the left lane. The update got me very excited. The weekends that followed we logged runs farther than 5K, progressing each time.

This Saturday the months of anticipation and training was tested. Wifey supported our adventure so we all checked in at one of Marcus’ favorite place–the Acacia Hotel in Alabang–which was perfect due to its proximity to The Music Run PH’s venue.

Loading up on McDonald’s carbs.

Powered by McDonald’s spaghetti happy meal for lunch, I finished all the French fries even, we set off. The venue was five minutes away from the hotel and the quick trip on foot also served as my warm up run. There was no gun start so we joined the other runners as soon as we reached the start gate at about 4:30 PM. Weather was nice and warm.

Several people, participants and marshals included, cheered for Marcus. The energy was contagious and it motivated me more. The road was almost packed so I tried to steer clear of other runners and stuck to the left lane as agreed but every now and then I’d overtake those who paused and walked. Loudspeakers playing upbeat music were set up along the route so I was tempted to do the floss at some point but decency kept me from doing it–old guy doing a Fortnite emote doesn’t look good around sweaty millennials. So I pushed forward instead. Marcus shared his Skittles whenever I stop for my Gatorade.

Two loops later, we reached the finish line. It was already dark, though night was young. We clocked 10 minutes more of PR but that’s good enough considering the wheelchair. A quick random interview and we’re soon out of the event’s ground, happily on our way back to the hotel with our first ever 10K finisher medal. The race was tough as I have imagined but I think we’ll do this again.

Two loops of this. We were hamsters in a music trail.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Early morning bit looking forward to buffet lunch.)

In Sickness And In Health

When we walked the aisle on that very day we professed the ultimate commitment of our love for one another we made a promise. It was the sweetest, it was binding, it was the bravest vow any couple would ever make. Until death do us part, right?

Then life goes go one after the fanfare. Life as a couple, ideal it seems at that time, moves forward. We’re now husband and wife, ready to face the world. Then we’d have kids, the family grows from just two to more. Married life is bliss. Our love holds for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse…

But sometimes life would test further. Life would soon remind us the boldest commitment we’ve ever made, those romantic promise, likely in our then absent-minded state. In sickness and in health we’d later realize would be our mantra as we face head on the toughest of the toughest trials that would come our way.

Fact is, true love is easier said than done. It is skin-deep if it exists just for fun and in good times. For all we know, true love isn’t a party for it goes beyond looks and sex and marriage vows. It is anything but true love if it doesn’t survive ‘in sickness and in health.’ True love is an adventure, it’s a journey. Hair-raising but rewarding journey. Again, that is if we survive it, if we don’t give up midway.

This is why I admire married couples, more so the elderlies, I see in hospitals. These guys beat lovers in the malls anytime. I envy those who persevere, who try their best to make their balding cancer-stricken spouse smile; those who wheel in day after day their immobile husband to complete another challenging physical therapy; those who hold hands until their partner’s last breath. That, to me, is true love.

If I have my way, however, I do not wish to see the day I’d have to prove myself, to walk the talk, to prove true and deeper love. But when that day comes I wish and pray I’d be the strong person than I am today. “In sickness and in health…’til death do us part.”

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Words inspired by this recent week’s event.)

First Fun Run

We’ve had morning runs in the past and we’re even in attendance in a fun run event which I recall was during the adoption awareness week about nine years ago. But wifey and I were never together as registered participants. Last week we had the chance to see ourselves run side by side.

Eager 3K runners.

The Sto. Tomas Color Fun Run, an organized though small running event, got all three of us in our running sneakers. On Friday morning we gathered with other excited runners at the starting line just few meters away from home, our aspin dog tagging along.

Dog panting but enjoying.

It was wifey’s first time to run again after several months, stuck normally at home doing her freelance jobs, so I paced with her. Basically, it was skip, hop, and jog for me, just to keep Marcus entertained, until the second kilometer. I started picking up the pace and left wifey behind on the last 1K stretch. Less than 10 minutes later, Marcus and I saw her cross the inflatable finish line arc. Not bad.

Post-run recovery was free Jollibee Yumburgers but three of us shared just one of it. I haven’t event burned the carbs I took prior to this. So barely exhausted and not wanting our dog to get lost on its way home, I decided that Marcus and I can still run with the dog. My Garmin registered about 6K total that morning.

This shouldn’t be our last. I want the three of us to join another event soon. Practice runs won’t be bad as well.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Hot chocolate at the car wash.)

Marcus Can Fly

An ultralight adventure got us back to Pampamga. After more than 10 years I drove the car up the north route again, its seven of eight good spark plugs doing their job. Our unplanned stopover at the Total NLEX gas station where wifey and I got locked out before made the trip even more nostalgic.

Last year I read about ultralights flight being safe and affordable and since then I wished we’d someday do it. A month ago a friend’s video on an ultralight became the final reminder so we booked our son for his first ever ultralight flight.

The drive to Angles City Flying Club took about four hours in a surprisingly moderate traffic on a Saturday morning. One hundred and sixty kilometers later we arrived at our destination although we later learned Waze could have done better had it directed us to Mabalacat exit instead of Mexico, Pampanga.

Incidentally, World Ultralight Fly-In (WUFI) 2018 was also happening that same day so Marcus had to stay and wait in the queue with other eager flyers. There were five ultralights per batch. Our son was number 29.

Marcus soon took off and didn’t back out of it but the other kid in his batch did bail out so a second take off was made. Flight time above the scenic Woodland Airpark in Sitio Talimundok, Pampanga was about 15 minutes with his pilot giving him a taste of how to control the nimble ultralight sometime during flight.

Me and the crew assisting Marcus after landing.

A copy of the video we received a week later would confirm what Marcus said he experienced. Strapped and having poor control of his muscles, he wasn’t able to look around while up in the air. He said he was limited to what he could see up front and within his peripheral vision. Nevertheless, another achievement unlocked. Marcus was able to fly.

***

Luck was on my side that day. Vince from Travellog.Ph who assisted booking Marcus for this event offered me a free ulttalight ride. I’ve done static skydive and tandem skydive in the past so I thought nothing could be more exciting. The ultralight flight proved me wrong.

***

Here are tips for a better ACFC ultralight flight experience.

1. Bring a GoPro. ACFC’s 15-minute flight is only Php2,888 but availing the package that includes shirt and photo-video costs an additional Php1,700. Shirt was cool but the photo and video aren’t worth it. So bring a GoPro if you have one as the plane has a GoPro mount.

2. Memory, memory, memory. I didn’t avail the photo-video package (firstly, got my ride for free) so I used a traditional Canon point-and-shoot attached to a selfie stick to record my flight. I was enjoying every bit of the experience when in the middle of the flight the dreaded “insufficient memory” error started showing up. Sucks that the thrilling turns and stalls weren’t captured.

3. Pick your pilot. Ask around, look for dizzy yet happy passengers when the planes land. I flew with a crazy local pilot and it made the free flight double the fun. Check my video above. Find that guy.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Sunny Sunday and I wish we could fly again.)