Saturday, November 15, 2008

Butchoy and me

Browsing through some pictures in a CD given to me by a friend and co-worker, I saw this picture of Butchoy and me on the way to the finish of a duathlon in Cotabato City a couple of years ago.

We were a study in contrast, Butchoy and me, in that picture.

The first time I used it as my profile picture in my Friendster account - yes, I have one - it became talk among friends. We were the figure "81" together, even "01" some said.

Butchoy was fat boy in the flesh. I was his exact opposite.

But Butchoy was not your run-of-the-mill, regular fat boy. He climbs mountains and has conquered Mt. Apo, the Philippines' highest, several times. He goes spelunking and scuba diving. He rides a mountain bike and has finished a duathlon.

Doing that duathlon was quite an experience for me. It was my first. But I believe it was more memorable for Butchoy than it was for me.

Starting late at 9:00 on a humid June morning, the first 5K run leg which tackled a couple of long climbs was definitely not easy for my lungs and legs which were newly reacquainted with running after almost two years of cycling. I would suppose it was a nightmare for Butchoy.

Running another 3K after a 20K mountain bike leg which included riding through narrow fishpond dikes wasn't that easy either, and I found myself trailing a lot of younger competitors in my Veterans (31 and above)Category going into the finish at the new Cotabato City Hall grounds.

Butchoy was still on the road, doing the bike leg when I hit the finish line. I was already relaxing when he came into the transition area and set off for the final run leg.

I decided to go with him for support on my mountain bike and monitor the rest of the field as they came in as well.

Butchoy shuffled slowly and walked from time to time. He was obviously tired but he looked good, catching up with another guy who was almost as big as he was. They did the route back to the City Hall grounds together.

I don't quite remember if Butchoy went ahead of this other guy or if he was left behind. The only vivid memory I have, thanks to the photo, is of the two of us approaching the line - Butchoy shuffling and me on my mountain bike.

Finishing that duathlon was truly an achievement for Butchoy. He came in 5th in the Touring (29 and below) Category.

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