Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lonely road

He was far from alone. There were people on the side of the road and vehicles passing. But he was a solitary soul amidst all that, engrossed in his thoughts as he plodded along.

Somehow he was really by himself. He alone felt his pains - the one that gnaws at his lower back every single day, the one that pinches his knee once in every single while - and he alone suffered through them. People watch and awe at what he's doing. They have no idea he's dying. His breath was labored, his heart was pounding, but his face showed no trace. He has taught himself to hide all the discomfort. He just looked straight ahead, appearing all consumed by what his doing, focused on his business and on not much else.

No one else knew his frustrations in life, in work, with people - being ignored, unappreciated, unnoticed except when something is needed from him. He was dying, he was dying inside and nobody knew, nobody would understand. He kept them all to himself, drowning them in the discomfort he felt. Yes, somehow it was a good discomfort, a helpful one in silencing the doubts inside him.

For why shouldn't it be? Living through all these pains, surviving through all the discomfort, he discovers his toughness, his courage, his strength. He learns he can do more than he thought he could. He finds himself renewed.

So he goes on his way, plodding along, a solitary soul, amidst the people on the side of the road and vehicles passing. All by himself, engrossed in his thoughts, living through his pains, surviving through his discomfort, silencing the doubts inside him.

On that lonely road.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

It's not that I hate beaches...

It's not that I hate beaches, it's just that I love trails and mountains more.

Beaches are nice, especially when there are not a lot of noisy, rowdy people. Rowing solo on a kayak on a long stretch of sea close to shore is something I would like to do, even more than scuba diving or even riding the waves on a surfboard. That would perhaps be the most adventurous and happy I would be on water.

Despite the two near-drowning experiences I have had on water , first when I was five or six, the other when I was in first year high-school, I have somehow taught myself to be comfortable in the shallows and swim in the least scientific way. I have also been to beaches and enjoyed a brief swim more than once or twice.

But the satisfaction I get from running back roads or mountain trails, scaling heights on foot, even on hands and knees at times, is different. I would say that it is fuller. I remember most those moments during my treks up and down Mt. Apo, running from Energy Development Corporation's Ma-ag Tinikaran nursery to the peak and back, and more recently my run with a friend in Mt. Batulao. They are etched in my memory and I nurture the desire to do them all again. Perhaps, until I have kayak experience, I won't have as much to cherish in a trip I have had to the beach or the sea.

Maybe it is the feeling of freedom, of being able to run unshackled. We all cherish that, the feeling of being able to roam, go far and go long untethered. They say running is the closest we can be to flying without the aid of a machine or a contraption. And what is flying if not freedom?

Or maybe it is the solitude, being alone but not being lonely, because in my runs in those back roads and mountain trails I find myself in harmony with nature, one with creation, as I was meant to be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Still trying

For the nth time, I started again this morning. I started a routine that I hope I could do repeatedly at least every other day: run 5 kilometers, hopefully 8 after that, then 10 kilometers again and, maybe later, more.

The past few months have seen my mileage dwindling. 60 kilometers in January, 58 in February, a little more than halfway down from the 118 in January. The highest I have had in the past 12 months was 170 in May last year yet. Mileage had been on a consistent up-and-down trend, mostly on the downside, since then. Work demands, the occasional laziness, I blame these for all that, and then there's age slowly catching up with me.

But I am not one to easily believe that it's time to stop and give up. I have tried and failed several times already to get back to a consistent routine. Still I persist. There is that something inside that tells me it will all come back again. Maybe not the way it was five or six years ago, the best years of my second wind, but close.

And so I haven't grown tired of trying. Not just yet. Not just yet.