Breath is ragged. Feet are heavy.
“Four kilometers na lang. I cannot believe it. You already ran 17 kilometers. Wohoo!”
I heard my pacer-colleague encouraged me as we continue running near Mabolo church. But these cheers were muffled, I am lost in my own thoughts. Damn! I just ran like forever and it’s just one kilometer. These thoughts kept repeating for the last five kilometers of the 21K run I joined last February 18, 2018.
I was never sporty. I might be in the softball and soccer-baseball team during my high school and college years but it was not my forte. I would rather curl up in a little nook with a book than work out buckets of sweat. So what encouraged me to join my first ever half marathon? Peer pressure! What got me started to run? You got that right, peer pressure!
It started two years ago, on the same run, my good friend who I rarely see will visit Cebu briefly just to join the run. She asked me to be with her. My excitement of seeing her outweighed my worries about my running condition which ultimately lead me to register under the 6K category. What supposedly started as a fun run/ meet-up turned into quite something else. The lethargic me who has never ran for almost six years got her game face on. I started running around two to three kilometers twice a week for around three weeks before that fateful day.
From then on, running became a part of my T-TH habit. But that does not mean I always run according to schedule. I never really thought about running more kilometers until last year when I ran 12K. I did not get muscle cramps, I was breathing fine. Although I am slow but I think I did great. I was prepared for it. Deep inside it got me thinking, running a half marathon wouldn’t be so bad.
End of 2017, while charting my goals for the next year, a half marathon run was included in my 2018 goals. That’s in less than two months and lesser still because I got my eyebrows microbladed (not allowed to perspire profusely for two weeks). That left me with only a month to prepare. I was really worried about my performance that I started telling my friends that I’ll just run 12K again. They started preaching me about self-improvement and the likes. To make matters worse or for the better rather; a colleague offered to become my pacer. I took his offer but felt I was scammed after I said it’s a GO because of my short preparation. The longest practice run was around 11 kilometers and total practice runs were about five, which already includes the long run, the five practice runs were about five kilometers each.
Nevertheless, I showed up armed only with my mediocre practice, tips on running a half marathon, energy gel and prayers, lots of prayers. Thankfully, I finished the run for a good three hours despite my constant complaint of my left thumb going numb during the last kilometers of the run (how weird is that?) and my right knee screaming during the entire run.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have whipped myself up to have enough practice runs, a 16-kilometer long run and a good ten minutes of stretching. But what’s done is done. Probably on my second 21K and if lucky enough I can shorten my time and run without a pacer (he was practically my savior) . I am surprised of what my body has achieved. Truly, you will never know until you. What better way to celebrate finishing a 21K without injuries than eating to your heart’s content. Good thing, there’s a despedida after the run. So off I go but would you believe that it is for that very same friend who bugged me to join the run two years ago. How fitting is that!