First 16K

Can I run farther? I asked myself immediately after I crossed the finish line of the Run 7-11 10K category a month ago. I wasn’t all spent while slowing down towards the staging area so I think I could. Since then I set my mind to try 16K.

Next weekends, however, I was grasping for motivation. Why should I? What for? I seem unable to justify why I would torment myself running farther when 10K seems to be good enough for regular runs. And the funny thing is, in the past weeks I didn’t even do 10K anymore. I also did 5Ks just because my workout plan that’s stuck on our refrigerator says I need to. Telltale signs of boredom.

My Garmin capturing the spike of elation?

Thanks to running and fitness pages I follow on Facebook, I got back on track. Surround yourself with like minded people they say. People who had the same challenges, same people who despite challenges have beaten the odds. So this morning I pulled myself out of Netflix’s Ghost Wars. I ran while it’s still dark.

The plan was to cover 12 kilometers only. It’s the distance set based on my newly discovered pre-run meal: .5 multiplied by bodyweight multiplied by number of hours left before run. I read it yesterday, not the whole article but I was eager to give it a try. It says it should be good for an hour’s run.

Experts say that pace is key to avoid early burnout on long runs. I tried slowing down but every time I check my Garmin it shows my 5K pace which is a bad sign if running economy is considered. I was planning my turnaround point at the 6K mark but my legs still seem up for two more kilometers.

An hour and a half later I was on my home stretch. Sun’s already up, school kids already being dropped off, and the Monday chaos starts to set in. Before my watch hits the second hour I finished my run. Not fast but I did it. My 16K baseline has been set.

Sweet potatoes for recovery.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (God is good.)


Alcohol-Free, Almost

Me according to Marcus.

As parents, we play different roles. At some point we are either any or a combination of being a superhero, a soldier, a doctor, a nurse, a driver, a bank teller, a teacher, a preacher, a clown, and a friend. Our children expect us to be as flexible as Mr. Fantastic and our children keep a keen eye on us day in day out. What we do is what they would become.

It is imperative that we pay attention to our actions. The sooner we realize that we have greater responsibilities the moment a child becomes part of our lives, the better. Parenting is complicated, I know, and it is normally easy on theory but a whole lot different when everything happens right in front of your face. Kid cries, kid wants food, kid poops, kid pees, kid makes a mess. And kid gets sick. And some kid, later on, would have special needs.

There is no turning back. Hard truth. It takes someone strong, wherever that strength may come from, to say “I can do this.” A good parent commits, a good parent loves…without condition. Child first, everything else takes a backseat.

It took some time to get my acts straight when it comes to alcohol. Several times I was behind the wheel under influence with Marcus inside the car, I had days I missed getting him to bed because I can barely hold my own, and there was one day I missed him blowing his birthday cake because I’ve passed out. Been that bad father.

This was a sign.

Honestly, I somehow miss drinking with friends. Those days when cheeks would get warm and tight. Those days when eyes drop halfway, then the world starts turning. Those days when inhibitions are lost and words come out freely and without care. All for the heck of doing it. In vino veritas. But perspectives and priorities changed.

I haven’t stopped drinking entirely but since the red wheelchair came the drinking became less and lesser. Occasional isn’t even a close definition. I could count with my fingers the number of times I went drinking especially last year. Running and working out helped me avoid the urges. (FYI, six bottles of low-calorie beer is equivalent to one meal or a third of a day’s calorie allowance. That’s excluding finger foods!)

I am alcohol-free, almost. I’ve made myself 24/7 for Marcus as much as possible. I’m his fireman who would jump the pole and would be there for him in no time. I would only drink if Marcus is not around or if I know Marcus’ needs are all taken care of. I think I could now qualify as best parent yet not. Others have far challenging stories. So to all of you out there who continue to make sacrifices and continue to love their kids with special needs, hats off to you. Happy Sunday.


Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Just in time for the adobo.)

More Than Just Physical

What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve. It’s a twist to a quote by someone named Napoleon Hill (if Google is to be trusted) which everyone might have heard or read already. Such is cryptic however or sounds cliche, even irrelevant for anyone who hasn’t realized that at some point it has happened to them.

This concept became apparent when I started going to the gym. Like most noobs, I went to the gym without understanding fully what it takes to be there. I first set foot in a gym at Intel just because it’s free, cold, and equipment are mostly top of the line. I was there thinking I would lift whatever my physical strength allows me. If I cant, I won’t, I’ll just call it a day.

Few years later, I became more focused on strength training when we first learned about Marcus’ condition. It was something that we need to be prepared of, physically in one aspect. So I went back to the gym again. This time I paid some attention to my nutrition. I eat rice before each session and it was key to lifting relatively heavier weights. But other guys I see can do more.

I was back to the drawing board. Then I saw on YouTube about the mental aspect of lifting. It got me interested and excited. The last gym I had was few meters from our old home so I would time my visits when there are less patrons. I worked out noon time while Marcus is in school or after I have dropped him off. I gradually worked my way up the dumbbells and few sessions later reached the heaviest weights of the rack. True enough, I soon see myself bench pressing two 50-lb dumbbells. It gave me confidence to workout even when the gym is packed.

I haven’t gotten back to the gym for years but thanks to this free Kindle book by Dan Kavadlo, I continue to do my bodyweight workouts at home. Running too is now part of my training plan.

Time and again my body would make up alibi to stay sedentary. “It’s a weekend”, ” it’s cold outside”, “Netflix is calling”, ” bed is better”, and so many other temptations to stay put. Maybe it’s the body’s instinct to preserve itself from stress which is when it becomes more mental than physical. It pays to listen to your body but not all the time. You should know better.

Sometimes when the body says dizzy, you say 5K. That’s just what I did today. Same story as before. And guess what? In this dizzy state I broke my personal time. I’m now two minutes away from my sub 30 goal. See.

The leg says run, the mind thinks pizza!


Here’s a confession. I haven’t heard Sunday mass for a long time–me and Marcus. But this doesn’t mean I have become less(er) pious. In fact, it is when I workout and run that I pray more sincerely than when I’m in church. In training, I’m alone, focused, no annoying churchgoers, no distracting females who continue to play dumb by defying the church’s dress code. Oopps. Sorry Lord, my bad.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Getting gloomy, so it seems like ditching the Hot Air Balloon show was a good idea.)

I, Runner

“However you run, as long as you run, you are a runner.” Words of wisdom from an online article but whether the writer behind it was just meeting word count quota or an avid runner who knows what (s)he’s really talking about, I would like to believe that I deserve the title now. Even just for a day.

This morning I conquered what I’ve been preparing for. I’ve been running several 10Ks lately as tracked by my Garmin but haven’t joined any organized event to test myself how I would perform against others. So when I learned last December about Run 711 2018 I willingly let go of my precious 700 pesos to register.

A week of preparation, diet, cross-training, and mind conditioning paid off. The day prior to the race was most critical as I followed my plan based on tips I’ve read. I had carbo intake (thanks to wifey’s tuna pasta), performed light bodyweight exercises, and drank just enough coffee. I missed my weekend Fail Army viewing session with Marcus as I hit the sack earlier than usual.

A good luck letter from my fans.

I was in Alabang about an hour before the start of the race. Early morning was cold and I was a bit dizzy but the moment I heard go at 4:45 I ran along with the pack and surprisingly picked up the pace. My Vivoactive HR shows 1 hour 7 minutes when I crossed the finish line–a minute less than my fastest record on Garmin Connect. It made me feel like the race winner.

Run 711 2018 10K route.


I am about to conclude that Run 711 is more organized than the Nat Geo Earth Day Run I attended seven years ago–yes, seven. Well, almost organized not until I realized that I was supposed to have a finisher shirt and a finisher medal. Pictures online and the race packet show that all finishers get one. All I got was a free paper fan, a Red Bull, and a Pocari Sweat. I bet the medal’s plastic anyway.

I didn’t have any picture except for this race tracker.


Official race time isn’t available as of this writing. Already had my Sunday nap but still does not show my result. Nat Geo Run had its race result faster. By the way, I finished my Earth Day Run 5K after 41 minutes but I now cover 5K at an average of 32 minutes. Next goals: sub 30 5K and sub 1 10K.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Heartbreaking news and overeating.)

Ten Years, 10K

WordPress says my blog turns 10 this month. Must be the domain itself but actually I’m not so sure. Why? Two things do not add up. Firstly, my archive dates back 2006 while Marcus arrived November 2008. Either way I accept the nice achievement badge.

My WordPress laurel.

*** now shows the respective routes of next week’s race. Personally, race is a strong word though in a sense may be correct if by racing it means beating nobody’s record but my own. We’ll see. Here’s the road to my first official 10K.

Image from


Mood: 5/10 Honks! (No run weather.)

Run the Talk

The time to run the talk is closing in. Last night I got my race kit and I’m excited seeing myself crossing the finish line. Last time I joined an official event was the NatGeo Earth Day run about four seven years ago and that was for a 5K distance. This year I’m in for my first 10K race.

Some bit of a challenge though as it looks like I have to cut more weight as singlet is a bit tight. The past days I was in the midst of free pizza and pasta served during a two-day planning session but I was able to resist the urge to eat. I took some bites just so I don’t appear as a snob.

Surprisingly I lost about two more pounds during this period. The absence of taking Swiss Miss and bananas must have helped plus me sneaking out to answer the call of my Garmin to move.

My singlet and bib.

Race is on February 4 and start time is at 4 AM. Fingers and blackened toenails crossed.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Marcus’ first therapy this year. Last one was before Christmas.)

Daylight Runs

I seem to start liking the idea of running when and while the sun is up. For almost a year I have preferred doing my runs very early morning while it’s still dark and cold outside and when there are still few curious onlookers along the way. The lesser people, the better was among my motivations.

Things have changed lately however. I began to realize that I couldn’t take vitamin D supplements forever to compensate the lack of exposure to sunlight. My wife seems to have also accepted that we can’t wake Marcus up early to attend Sunday mass (and expect neither me nor him not to be grumpy in the church) thus leaving her doing it on our behalf. She goes to church, I stay in bed and look after Marcus until he wakes up. So there goes my dark weekend runs.

Besides dealing with more people, pros of running in daylight does outweigh its cons. Visibility for one is a big plus. I now have lesser chances of stepping into animal poop, tripping over invisible potholes and uneven road segments, getting side swiped by sleepy/drunk drivers, and being chased and bitten by rabid stray dogs just to name a few.

More running options have also become available. Like this morning my wish to try going uphill close to the foot of Mt. Makiling materialized. I soon discovered that it was tougher than I first thought. Few months ago I was with Marcus pushing him in his wheelchair but it was more of a leisurely walk. This time I was running, albeit stopping every now and then, and I had my nose flaring, my throat drying up halfway of my run.

How high did I get? Well, my Garmin says that in about 15 minutes I achieved the equivalent of 26 floors. On average, I do 10 floors a day spread over 8 hours.

First time I got this high.

Going downhill also posed another challenge. If I were on a bike would have been all fun but running was different. I stayed focused and controlled my strides so that I don’t become the old version of Jack ‘n Jill. It was tempting to go fast but it would have been a stupid idea. Nursing a fresh black toenail didn’t help either as the negative slope means that I need to land on the ball of my feet thus putting more pressure on my toes.

This new route was short yet not easy. But would I do it again? Definitely. As the the mantra goes “Know the whys so that you could endure the hows.” Next time again Makiling once the sun is up.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Ready for work?!)