Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Running to work

I ran to work Friday last week. All of 15 kilometers.

It wasn't that hard. The route was practically all downhill from where I started. I had done a couple or so of 20Ks on a route that goes all uphill for the first half. This run was easy.

The catch was since I was running on a relatively busy national highway, I had to run on the road shoulder which was covered with loose gravel. It was also mostly inclined. About five kilometers into the run, I almost twisted my ankle stepping on the loose gravel. A couple more kilometers and I felt another sudden twist, and this time, it hurt.

I continued to run, though, limping as I moved forward at a slower pace. The pain stayed for about a minute or so, but eventually went away. Nothing serious perhaps, I thought. I was soon back to my 5:30/km pace.

The heat was another thing. I usually ran at 5:30 or 6:00 am, with temperatures much cooler than my 7:00 am start. I was estimating a total runtime of an hour and a half, knowing that I would be slowing down in the heat as the clock moves closer to 8:00 am. This is the tropics, and warm, sunny mornings have been common these past few weeks. There are in fact talks of a possible onset of another mild El NiƱo.

A moderately cool breeze blew a couple of times during the first half of the run, but by the midpoint, all I felt was the heat at the back of my neck. By the 10k mark, I was wishing I had water to pour down my head and somehow cool my nape. I felt the back of my neck, and it was like it had a fever. I felt my pace had gone slower due to the heat.

The Suzuki Samurai that I usually ride going to the office had now gone back for me. It passed me earlier some two kilometers back on its way to the office. I signaled the driver to turn around and go back to the office. I was going to finish this run.

And finish it I did. I somehow got to pick up my pace as I got closer to the provincial capitol where I worked. When I glanced at my 10-year old Timex Ironman Triathlon, it showed a total time of 1:22.09, and an average pace of 5.28/km.

Another run done. Another accomplishment to relish.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Once a runner...

I consider myself a runner more than anything else.

Yes, I bike. I do both road and mountain and have joined quite a number of competitions, finishing decently in my age group and collecting a few medals to show off my accomplishments. But I was a runner way before I ever got fascinated with the two-wheeled contraption and idolized guys named Eddie, Miguel, Marco, and Lance. I was a runner who followed the exploits of guys named Frank, Bill, Alberto, Deek, Joan, Grete, and Haile.

I don't quite remember how the switch occurred. I got into this cross-training thing, had my first road bike assembled, and took to pedaling. Soon, I had my first mountain bike and was joining races.

I still found time to do some short runs. Did a couple of 28k races, some 5 and 10k's, but there were more days on the bike for me than there were days running. For some time, I think I really hung up my running shoes.

But I guess there's truth to the saying "once a runner, always a runner."

The embers were slowly fanned back to life.

Leaving my previous job at a local radio station gave me a lot of idle time. I was out of work for about a year. The early morning opportunities for a run which I rarely had when I was working at the radio station were now plenty for me to take, and take them I did. I still spent a lot of time on the saddle. But now there was also a lot more time spent running.

The twice weekly 6k morning runs became more frequent outings of four to five times a week. Soon there were 10k runs, and lately the 20k weekend long runs. I still get on my bikes, though, trying to put in two 1-2 hour rides in a week.

Why the newfound interest? I don't know, and I try not to delve so much into it.

To run because I love to is enough for me.