Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year-End Blog from Blog Owner Earl

As 2011 draws to a close, I want to do a look-back and to thank God for another year full of blessings. True, it's not a perfect year and there are lots of downs that definitely pushed me to my limit. But look at me now, after all of the turbulence I encountered, I'm still here standing (or sitting), still able to blog about my wonderful year.

There are some things that I wish I did not do, but then again without those things, I would not have learned. Therefore - as cliché as it may sound - NO REGRETS. There's no use in dwelling on the bad things that happened. I'm here to celebrate the good stuff of my 2011.

I only completed 9 races this year but I made all of them count. With my knee injury and all, it's a wonder how I was able to finish one 3K, four 10Ks, two 16Ks, and two 21Ks. My favorite without a doubt is my Condura Skyway 21K. Aside from the exhilarating fact that I ran on the Skyway, it was a race that I and my then-girlfriend Tey will always remember as the race where we finished holding hands. It's (almost) a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Aside from races/runs, my Lego Minifigures collection also made me very happy indeed. I feel like a little boy again! I don't always have enough money to complete them but thanks to my ever supportive sponsors. :)

I completed over a 100K (in terms of registered runs) but another feat I am proud of was completing 30 books! (Actually just 29 - I'm still reading my 30th). It was a great experience to be in someone else's mind or to virtually visit a different world or to time-travel to another era.

I'm very glad as well that I was able to complete one school year teaching high school Physics and one semester teaching Heat Transfer (ME major subject). It's a bit tiring to do it part-time on top of my regular work, but seeing the "enlightenment" in my students' eyes is just one of the best things in the world. [And I hope I made a difference in some little way.]

However - undeniably, irrevocably, unquestionably - the best part of my 2011 is my engagement to my future wife Tey! Modesty aside, I liked my proposal. :)) Although very simple and straightforward, I like how it was planned and executed. But no proposal will ever be good enough if there was no response, right?! :P So I guess Tey did a better job when she said "Syempre naman". :D

I can go on and on if I list all the blessings I received for every single day of the year. I guess in general I just want to say that it was another fantabulous year!

I'm now looking forward to an even greater 2012. Will the world end next year? I don't care that much. I guess I would just have to count my blessings earlier. :P

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Time Traveler's Blog : My Reasons for Keeping a Journal

I believe there are as many reasons for maintaining a blog as the number of bloggers all over the world. Maybe even more because I already have more than one reason for doing it.

Aside from the online blog, some also have some sort of a classic, pen-and-paper journal, as I do. Or did. Or will. But please take note that it's a journal, ok, not a diary. :P

Whatever the form, my reasons I guess are practically the same. I like expressing my ideas, telling personal stories, sharing my experiences. Some things, I share publicly; some I keep for myself. Sometimes I enjoy seeing other people's reaction/comments but there are times that I want it to be private.

But so far the best thing that I get from it is the feeling that I can sort of time-travel back to that moment. Just before writing this, I was reading my latest entry which was about my proposal/engagement and I felt like I was there again - my sweaty palms clutching the ring-box, the pinkness of Tey's pale face as I went down on one knee, the wild excitement of my relatives and friends, and the sudden deafening and heart-pounding silence that seemed to have followed, as if the crowd was instantly overwhelmed by Tey's silent mouthing of "Syempre naman."

And that was only last month. I can go back to last year when I ran 32K or when I first bought my Timex watch or my running shoes. I can do the Superpositions all over again, starting with the first one, when I was with the guys who originated it (not me, I'm just a messenger, a very avid rip-off fan :P).

Just imagine if you can travel back to 5 years or more! I found my manly journal notebook the other day (Again, it's not a diary, although the cover says Diary, which I think was a misprint). I have entries dating way back to High School and that was just awesome. I plan to share that with you later but they are so good that they most definitely deserve separate entries.

However, I do want to share with you my first ever journal entry. Well, sort of. It was written some 27 years ago, I guess by my Mom, but it was written from my first-person perspective. And it goes a little something like this.

October 20, 1984. Baby's first day home. - It was raining hard when we left the hospital. The taxi meter amounted to only Php 3.50 but my Daddy paid the taxi driver Php 20.00. I first slept beside my Daddy and Mommy. But I did not sleep so sound. I cried and cried. Nanay helped Mommy and Daddy on our first night home. She changed my diapers, my shirts, my beddings. She also prepared my milk. The following day, Sunday, was a busy day. I had lots of visitors.

I was teary-eyed as I copied that one from my baby book. Not because I'm sad, but because the taxi fare was only Php 3.50! And look how high-roller my Daddy was! He paid like more than 5 times, y'all! But on a serious note, I'm greatly touched by knowing that I sort of have a memory of that day. Maybe when I have my own baby someday, I will also be very generous to the driver. :D

Well, I guess that's the farthest I can time-travel in terms of my lifetime. And there are still lots of wonderful stories between then and now.

So there, that's why I like keeping tabs of myself and recording my experiences. If you haven't started one yet, it's never too late to do so. A blog, a journal, whatever. A diary, perhaps? After all, life has so many more things to offer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Engaged : I Like It

My life was wonderfully transformed in the last 10 days or so. It's not because I did 10K again at Nike Run Manila 2011 after a long time of bumming around. Not because I had a dinner cruise or that I had my first ever body massage (at least the first one I ever paid for). I dare say it's not even because I turned 27 last 18th and I had the Kare-Kare of a lifetime. It is for one reason and that is Tey is no longer my girlfriend --

-- Tey is now my fiancée!

After 6 years on the day, I finally popped the big question last October 16. It was a Sunday, like the first ever 10-16 of our relationship. I did it at church, amidst the cheers of family, relatives, and friends. It was indeed a day to remember - a day I will always look back to at night, some 30 years later.

To be honest, I knew she would say yes, but even so, at that moment, a couple of minutes before and after Tey's big YES, my heart still pounded like a headache. If you're a runner, you probably know about this heart-pounding you get just after you cross the finish line, after sprinting like a mad man on your last 200 meters or so. But this is something bigger than that. I like the proposer's high way way way better than the runner's high. :P

My life-changing decision started on October 4 when I finally went to Ongpin to buy a ring for Tey. It's a very lovely tale, that day. Maybe if I see you next time I can tell you all about it.

To my girlfriend of the past, fiancée of the present, and wife of the future --

I thank God for our 6 years and our engagement. It's been quite a run, so to speak. We've been through a lot already and there's a lot more road to cover. It's not a 100-meter dash, but a proverbial marathon, an ultra marathon even. We will be dead tired but at the end of our lives, we can look back and say, "We did it, my darling."

To my readers: Laugh now that I am so mushy and in-love. You just wait 'til you get engaged. :))

Or you can just look at these photos and partake in my excitement:

Superposition at Nike Run Manila 2011. This was the day before my proposal. My heart was bursting inside because I could not wait for October 16 - the big day. Tey had no idea that she was so-gonna-be proposed to.

Superposition with other girls -- It's like bachelor party already! :)

The classic "Will You Marry Me?". That's my sister Ritz holding the sign.

And of course the moment. Look at Tey's reaction and those of the people around. Classic. This is once in a lifetime, baby.

The big hug after Tey's epic "Syempre Naman" response.

I like it so I put a ring on it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Come Together: Twelve Ways to Keep Smiling

September 30 - Earlier today while sitting in a bus on Friday night traffic, the Beatles hit Come Together played on the radio. But it has nothing to do with what I really want to tell you.

♪ Here come old flat top, he come grooving up slowly ♫

For some reason, due to being idle I guess, my mind started to drift towards unhappy thoughts but I decided against it and took out my planner to get myself thinking about something else. Inside the front sleeve of the notebook, I noticed the bookmark that had been given to us last Christmas by the Principal of the school I used to teach at.

...got to be a joker he just do what he please...

It's a simple cardboard bookmark actually with gold lace at the top. It wasn't the lace that caught my attention but the message on it entitled "Twelve Ways to Keep Smiling".

♪ I know you, you know me ♫

Let me share these with you (credited to Douglas Pagels).

1. Hold on to your dreams, and never let them go.
2. Show the world how wonderful you are!
3. Give circumstances a chance, and give others the benefit of the doubt.
4. Wish on a star that shines your sky.

 One thing I can tell you is you got to be free 

5. Take on your problems one by one and work things out.
6. Rely on all the strength you have inside.
7. Let loose of the sparkle and spirit that you sometimes try to hide.
8. Stay in touch with those who touch your life with love.
9. Look on the bright side and don't let adversity keep you from winning.
10. Be yourself, because you are filled with special qualities that have brought you this far, and that will always see you through.
11. Keep your spirits up.
12. Make your heart happy, and let it reflect in everything you do!

♫ One and one and one is three ♫ 

This is obviously not an exhaustive list but some words there are just what I needed that time. Simple bits of advice like looking at the bright side and taking on problems on one by one are stuff that I know already but tend to forget whenever things don't go the way I planned them.

♪ Come together, right now ♫

I guess there's always a reason to smile, like getting advice from a bookmark, or looking up from your notebook and seeing that traffic is better and realizing that you won't be late after all.

 ♫♪ ...over me. ♫

How about you? What keeps you smiling? :D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Early Runs Takbo.PH Run Fest 2011

Let's pretend for a while that the doctor did not advise me not to run anymore and that I did not write my previous blog...


OK, enough pretending. Doc would probably say he told me so but I just had to run this year's Run Fest. Last year I did a PR 5K at this event but last Sunday I wasn't hoping to get anywhere near the upper 80%.

Nursing my knee pain, I started out my 16K with a 7.5 min/km pace. I was able to keep it up until around the 4K, 5K mark where I slowed down even more and I just alternated it with walk breaks.

My low EQ got the best of me but I was obviously not in any condition to run, especially a 16K that passes McKinley Hill. Oh the horror! That dreaded hill of my first ever 3K run(walk) in 2009 continues to haunt me until me now.

But do you know what is more painful than trying to get your bad knees across 16K of asphalt?!

My singlet did not fit!

No amount of holding my breath can allow me to wear that singlet! It's funny now that I think of it but imagine what I felt when I was trying it on the night before! Emphasis on trying. Ha!

But cmon, my knees nor my doctor stopped me, how would not wearing the singlet do otherwise?!

Finish Strong

Near the finish line, the marshal saw me limping my way through. But he cheered me on and said "Last 1K. Keep it Earl. Then finish strong."

That gave me a little boost and I finished as strongly as I could. My girlfriend and I really appreciate the fact that the marshals call the name of the runners. After all, the names are much bigger than the number, and I felt much bigger than the distance.

Happy Anniversary

It was a good event overall. I want to greet takbo.ph a Happy Anniversary! May this group continue to support its members to inspire new runners all over the globe.

It's definitely not a perfect event (what is?) but like runners always say, "Keep moving forward!"

Good job and congratulations for another year of awesomeness!


Here are some shots from the event.

My lovely personalized bib (I so love my full name :P)

At Mini Stop

Alot and Tey

Tey and Earl


Showing off our pretty 16K medals. Whattahair!

The Superposition? My left knee couldn't carry me that much and so I was having a hard time balancing on one leg.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Doctor's Appointment

Last Tuesday I went to see the doctor due to chronic knee pain. I think this started last September but it got worse on November after (or during) my 32K run for Leg 3. I could barely run after the 21K mark and I almost limped my way through the last 5k.

But as you know this did not stop me. I still went on to do a 16K, 10Ks, and then a couple of 21K races, the last being at Goldilocks.

Is this what they call a runner's knee? I don't know for sure yet but it's quite painful and I haven't been able to run or even walk properly since the last run. I feel so lousy and heavy, mostly heavy. Maybe it was weight gain or maybe it was that I did not train and recover enough for that 32K run. A lot of maybe's and so I went to Asian Hospital to find out.

While waiting, I picked up a magazine called MIMS Med Review because one of the articles in it had "Chronic Pain" in the title. To my surprise, the article was a nose-bleed one especially to a commoner like me.

The article was "The Place of Pharmacological Treatment in Chronic Pain" by Dr. Mick Serpell, FRCA, and it started with "The processing of nociception involves multiple neural pathways, transmitters and receptors..." I should have stopped there because all I could think of was Inception but I read on dreamily until about 3 pages in and I already finished stuff on NSAIDs, codeine, and opioid drugs.

It was like mental bloodbath in that article but amidst all that confusion, I think I understood something. This phrase was highlighted and I sort of get it:
"It is easier to keep pain at bay rather than trying to control it after it has resurfaced."
It made sense and I should have understood this earlier. Dr. Serpell was saying that "...rapid control of pain symptoms can reduce the risk of chronicity" and this mirrors what many runners and bloggers already say: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

It is natural to feel pain but you should know when to take it easy so that you can enjoy what you love doing for a longer time.

My advice is not new but I would like to say it as a reminder to myself:
1. Train well and get enough rest and nutrition.
2. Give yourself time to recover.
3. When you feel pain, do the famous RICE (Rest-Ice-Compress-Elevate) and see if the pain is only temporary.
4. If unsure, consult your doctor immediately.

I want to add that you should keep your weight at the optimum level. Like I said, I feel heavy and lousy lately and maybe that affected my running form and the impact on my knees.

Doctor's advice was for me to stop running for a while. I was expecting that.

But I fear I might violate that in the near future. :P

Friday, June 3, 2011

Race Results 2010

Here's a summary of my race results for 2010.

Condura Run 5k - 00:31:46
Century Superbods 10k - 1:08:44
Unilab Run for Welness 10k - 1:02:02
The Green Miles Run 15k - 1:34:20
Nat Geo Earth Day Run 10k - 1:00:36
Nature Valley Run 21k - 2:52:50
34th Milo Marathon 5k - 00:33:45
Eng'gfinity 10k - 1:26:05
takbo.ph Runfest 5k - 00:28:24
10.10.10 for Pasig River 10k - 1:37:12
Adidas KOTR 10k - 1:12:27
Unilab Run 32k - 4:47:49

Monday, May 16, 2011

Run Like a Cake - 45 Goldilicious Years!

Fort, May 15, 2011. Tey and I joined the 21K event of the Goldilocks Fun Run. It's my first yellow singlet so I was excited to wear it on race day. However, I seem to have gotten  fatter and I looked like a 3-layer wedding cake wearing the singlet!

I am now (at least) 15 pounds heavier compared to last year's 21K at Nature Valley (Run Rio Leg 2). The more I run, the more I eat, the heavier I get! I can't believe this! For more than a year of running and joining races, this is my heaviest at almost 160 lbs and without a strand of muscle to show for it. And to prove that I am now on the far opposite side of slim, I have now CHAFED for the first time! In the past, I couldn't relate to run blogs and magazines regarding chafing. Now I'm so sore. :P

But despite all this bitterness, I enjoyed the Goldilocks Fun Run. And I felt strong. Heavy, yes. But strong. I wasn't fast, I almost did not beat my 15-lb-lighter 21K record, but my run was quite steady, compared to my previous long races. It felt like I had a lot of energy (stored).

I think I also had extra energy because I was not holding my belly in anymore. :P I used to do that to have good looking photos but now that it's out of proportion, what's the use? I embraced my big tummy and I ran blissfully.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm now carefully crafting a plan so that I can be lighter on my feet. I do it for my knees and for other health benefits. And I think I should start that by putting down this chocolate I have in my hand now (it's messy for the keyboard too). But I want to point out that being "fat" should never be an excuse  to miss out on all the fun!

I liked the route of this run, going through the whole length of Buendia to Osmena. But it was just so hot! When I was at the Buendia flyover on my way back, I felt like a cake in an oven. I was starting to get dehydrated, I think, that I started getting pins and needles all over my body. But I survived, thanks to ample water supply at water stations.

I was able to finish with a new PR, but only by 30 seconds! But it's not bad for a heavier version of myself.

A good one for Goldilocks and for Rio.

Here are some of our pics from the event:

...and what else but the Superposition!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Takbo.PH Night Fest 2011

Welcome to the dark side.

Tey and I ran our first night run last Saturday (April 9) at the first night run of 2011 at Filinvest Alabang. Being a Southern Metro person (Sucat native), it was an easy yes to register for this takbo.ph event.

It's been a while since I ran nights. When I was still in UP, I used to do night rounds on the oval after my last class. I even tried (once) to do night run at Manila Memorial Park but I found that a little creepy so now I stick with morning runs for MMP.

Those night runs felt so very 2010 that I had forgotten the feeling of running at night, the extra effort of trying to see the road and near-missing the craters. [Silly me did not have a head lamp or other source of extra lighting.]

Do or do not - there is no try.

I now know that it's also critical to train for different situations like this. I realize that I'm an "after-office" runner. Being a night-shifter for most of the last 5 years, "after-office" means morning. [When I was in UP, I taught normal day classes so I ran at night.] The night run I suppose would feel like a morning run for regular people (I'm irregular?).

Ok, I guess I'm just making excuses. I finished at 1hr 15mins and my girlfriend did 1hr 12mins. Go figure. :))

Yoda once told me, "Fear is the path to the dark side." But I disagree. I think only courage would bring a runner to tread the dark side. Or was he talking to Anakin?

Night Pics

It was a good run with a nice route, fun hilly parts, great running community, and awesome pictures as well. :))

After Run

Start/Finish Arc

Skechers SRR Shirt!

...and Superposition! :)))

...Superposition with Jinoe. :))

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Running Free at Hyundai Fun Run

Roxas Blvd, April 2, 2011, Saturday.  We woke up at 3AM. Or should I say, Tey woke up at 3AM while I just stayted up and waited for my shift to end. [Thanks to my teammate Alfredo for trading shifts with me.]

We started preparing for our first free race - the Hyundai Run for a Cause. Two days before, we got our free singlets with bib and RFID. I found it a little weird that my bib number did not match my RFID number. But heck it's free. Why should I complain?

We reached the venue just in time, just when they were starting to introduce the emcees (Regine Tolentino and Boom Gonzales). Maybe it was just too early for them but it appeared (at least to me) that they were a bit confused on how the event should go. Like Regine did not know that she was supposed to lead the stretching or that they should properly introduce their guests (who were Richard Gomez and his wife Lucy, to mention the more prominent ones). But it turned out ok later on. Maybe they just needed to warm up a little.

The Wave and the Sea

Hyundai took the "Wave" system seriously. In the past races that I joined and that had waves (like 10.10.10 and Condura 2011), the waves were just more or less about a minute apart. Being in Wave B, I experienced firsthand waiting for more than 5 minutes before we started. Well safety comes first. Hyundai must have thought you can never be too careful.

The run itself was pretty straightforward (almost literally). The route was along Roxas Blvd and starts and ends near the Grand Stand (much like the Manila Milo Marathon). There were a lot of volunteers along the route, some cheering, some taking photos, many passing bottles of water.

At 20,000 runners, it was practically a sea of people so it was surprising to see my former (or future?) co-faculty John Martin (Recio) there. I thought I'd give him a "High Five!" but I was busy huffing and puffing through all the 7 holes of my bayabas.

At the finish line, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of my college orgmates (UP Gears and Pinions in the house!) were Marshals for this event. Here's some of them with this bodyguard shot.

L-R: Jayreus Jimenez, King Almazan, Renz Formoso, Riznel Cresino

Strong Finish (sort of)

I thought I did pretty well but maybe my watch was fast? It felt like my usual pace and I thought I would probably finish just a minute or two over an hour. But it's more than a couple of minutes. My unofficial time is 1hr 10mins which is not bad but I know I could have done better. I could blame it on a lot externals but it would still go down to how well I prepared and how I execute that for a new PR.

And how heavy I am! I feel 10 lbs heavier this year (which I think I am!). I thought fastfood would make me fast?! Oh, the lies of the cheeseburger. :P

Super Pictures

Let me share the other fun pics I have from the event.

...with Tey (before and after)

...and you know what's coming..

...the Superposition!

L-R: Miguel Estepa, Homer Ramos, Bino Santos, Moan Anical

"The JunFacs" L-R: Miguel Estepa, Homer Ramos, Bino Santos, John Martin Recio
[Thanks for sharing these pics!]

...with the UP GPs Marshals!

...with another co-faculty Bino Santos. Congrats on your first run! Hindi ka na virgin! :P


Yours Truly

Friday, March 25, 2011

Registered for Takbo.PH Night Fest

Tey and I are officially registered for the Takbo.ph Night Fest!

My girlfriend registered on opening day at Trinoma (after her new PR 21K at Run United). She was not allowed to sign up for me so I registered the next day (March 7, Monday) at Skechers Greenbelt 5.

Looking forward to this new experience and to my SRR T-Shirt. :))

See you there guys!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Run United 2011 - My Runaway Girlfriend

My girlfriend's stronger than me.

It took a while before I realized it. I guess it's not just my running that was slow that day.

Already done with my 10K, I was sitting at the curb, taking some pics, and waiting for Tey to complete her 21K. We had decided that I was to run 10K only because I have a shoot the night before.

I would say my 10K was ok. It's not that bad. If I compare it to my last 10K (Adidas KOTR), I did a little better. 1hr10 now compared to 1hr12. But compared to last year's Leg 1 (Century Tuna) or last year's Unilab 1, well, hmm, um.... Ok, next topic.

Runrio Leg 1 2010 (Century Tuna) : 1hr 8 mins
Unilab 1 2010 : 1 hr 2 mins
Adidas KOTR 2010 : 1 hr 12 mins
Runrio Leg 1 2011 (Unilab 1 2011) : 1 hr 10 mins

After running, I stretched and I claimed my finisher's kit and my bag from the baggage counter and proceeded to wait for Tey at the corner of 7th and 28th.

Tey finished her last 21K (Condura 2011) at around 3h8m but she was injured then. Her 21K before that (Unilab 2, 2010) was at 2h54. While I waiting, I took a few shots, like this one of Tessa.

I heard the announcer on the mic say "2hrs 30 mins! You can do it guys!" I thought I'd sit down for a while because Tey would still take 20 to 30 minutes.

But like a flash of lightning out of the clear blue sky, Tey suddenly, unexpectedly came running in front of me like she's chasing Piolo.

How did she do it? My fastest 21K is 2h52 and my 23k split in my last 32K will only put me at 2h45 tops.

I snapped out of my mathematical trance when I remembered that I was sitting there to take pictures of Tey.

Here I am trying to overtake Tey (Thanks to Peng Magbiro for this nice shot).

It was a great run for Tey. From 3 hours 8 minutes, she shaved off more than 30 minutes for an official time of 2 hours 34 minutes. No, it's not right to call that a shave. That's a 6-inch haircut plus blow dry.

Good job to my girlfriend! Last year, she did not even want to run. 3K was unimaginable. And now here she is - even stronger than I am. If she has a blog, I'll save it to my favorites, read it, and take down notes.

Here are some more pics from the event.

Ceelin Kids

Tey and Tessa

My fast and strong runner girlfriend Tey

Earl and Tey