Saturday, February 13, 2010

What is my most natural running experience?

Antipolo has always been my second home. Just an hour's ride from Metro Manila, it offers an escape from the rat race of city life. My father has a house in Antipolo City, and at times I go up there to visit him and mellow down.

One time before, around May 2004, if I recall, I made a resolve to finish a long distance run. That was during the time, I started jogging after I got out from office. I do my routine around four times a week. When my father found out about it, he recommended that I do my jogging on Sundays in Antipolo. At first I was reluctant, because I felt the place was too far to go to. I can't imagine myself going out of the way just to do my running routine there. First off, I really wasn't into long distance running. During my elementary years, I used to play soccer and do sprints, but not at long distances. Embarrassing, but at that time, I could only barely finish a 3 kilometer run. It made me feel weak afterward. I even thought, I would never be able to run farther because it doesn't suit my body. It didn't feel natural.

Still, I dreamed that one day I could go the distance. It wasn't in me to give up that easily. I always wanted to be like the other runners out there, who are able to endure and cross the finish line. And so, after a few weeks of contemplation, I decided to accept father's invitation. We left for Antipolo Saturday night where I plan to sleep there, and do my routine Sunday morning.

Sunday came. When I got up from bed, around 6:45 am, father was already dressed up for the run! I never thought that he wanted to come along. He looked so excited, even more than I was. Curiously, I asked why he wanted to join me and he said, he really needed the exercise.

After we took breakfast, we left towards our jogging site. It was just nearby, around 500 meters from his house. We went downhill, where the sitio residents fetch their drinking water in the morning. When we got there, to my surprise, our jogging site was a large underdeveloped area, which looked like an uncompleted subdivision. It has roads, but no houses, and never maintained for years. Grass and foliage has grown on the roads. Twigs and leaves are scattered all over the place as if nature reclaimed the place once more.

Looks deserted, I thought at first, but was proven wrong when a bunch of kids rushed to greet us!

"Daddy! Daddy!" The kids would call out. That is how they address my father. Most of the children there are relatives of mine. My father is their uncle.

Incidentally, the kids were just playing there. Naturally, they were there because it was a Sunday. There was no school, and the place was ideal for playing. Cars don't pass by that area, and won't interfere with their games, or cause any vehicular accident.

I wondered if the place was safe being deserted and all, so I asked my father about it.

"Yes it is!" he replied, "specially for children because adults pass by from time to time to fetch water."

After a few minutes of warm-up, we decided to hit the trail. We picked a simple route. We just jogged around the place by going round four streets, which led back to the place we started. I thought it was a boring trail at first, but after a few minutes of the run, I was proven wrong. The scenery looked great! There were trees that provide shade, and the cool breeze felt fresh and calm.

The roads weren't boring either. They go uphill and downhill. The uphill portion was definitely very tiring for me. I felt I wanted to quit my pace as I traversed, but seeing father try so hard, I wasn't willing to give up. Another reason for not giving up is that, the kids followed us through the course of the run! They were jogging with us from behind, as if they found a new game to play. Actually, they were curious, and kept asking my father what we were doing.

"Bakit kayo nag-dya jogging?" asked the kids.

"Nag-e exercise kami!" father explained.

Children are children, so they tend to ask a lot. Eventually we were answering them and sometimes laughing at their silly questions. We were actually having fun while entertaining the kids!

I couldn't help but notice the kids not getting tired that easily. They were not bothered by the distance, nor the uphill/downhill road. They even made a contest out of who is the fastest runner among them while we were doing our normal pace! Watching them made me re-think my reasons for running.

Every Saturday evening after that, I would go to Antipolo to do my Sunday jogging routine. Sometimes my father would accompany me during my run. Naturally, the children were always there at the site, playing their games, and greeting me with their warm welcome as I go about my rounds. Eventually, my body was able to adjust to the distance. A few months later I was able to complete my first 10K fun run.

Looking back, I wish I could be just like them some more. They taught me something valuable - that running is about having an active lifestyle while having fun! This for me is my most natural running experience.

P.S. Recently I went back to Antipolo and did some jogging with my father. We brought bottles of Minute Maid to drink after our run.

A new batch of the Antipolo children were there. They are the brothers, sisters, cousins or neighbors of the children in my narration. They accompanied my father jogging at our special 'jogging grounds'.

I took a video of them from behind after they passed by me...

Who's the fastest? Ready, get set, GO!!!

My father enjoying his bottle of Minute Maid

Wala po ba kami? Exclaimed one kid, while my father drinks his share of Minute Maid.

I prepared couple of big bottles of Minute Maid for the kids to enjoy.

Some of the kids keep horsing around while enjoying their Minute Maid. I took a photo of their funny reaction.

I had my share of Minute Maid! After that we headed home for breakfast.

Minute Maid and Running! The keys to having an active lifestyle and having fun!

This is my entry to the blog contest sponsored by and Minute Maid.

To get to know more about this blog contest, click here for details...


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