Running at Bonifacio Global City

Fellow runners at Bonifacio Global City

So I ran for the very first time in a race yesterday. It had to be a 10k one too because I am stubborn. I ignored all advice on taking things slowly and gradually increasing distance (don’t be like me, I do a lot of stupid things). I did have a month of preparation though. I nearly backed out at the last minute, owing to the fact that I felt like I was going to come down with the flu and I was banking on only 4 hours of sleep the night before. Still, I am proud to say that I went through with it to the finishing line with no injury or accident (probably because I walked half the time).

Adidas King of the Road singlet and their awesome finisher's medal

Adidas King of the Road singlet and their awesome finisher’s medal

Anyway, here are some tips I received from my officemates who regularly join marathons (helpful for a beginner like me):

  1. Don’t forget to stretch and warm up before each run.
  2. A bar of chocolate is a good energy snack/breakfast food if you think you can’t handle anything heavier before running.
  3. Wear a pair of spandex or cycling shorts underneath your running shorts to prevent chafing.
  4. Use thicker socks for a long run.
  5. Land on the ball of your foot, not your heel.
  6. Hydrate and eat a recovery meal within the hour after the race.

A few more things that I learned throughout the run:

  1. Start slowly and progress from walking to jogging to running.
  2. Get a pair of good running shoes to avoid discomfort and injuries.
  3. It’s okay to walk. Just go at your own pace.
  4. Check singlet sizes beforehand. If it’s in a European size, get at least one in a size smaller than your usual size.
  5. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
  6. Bring a cap to protect your face from the sun.
  7. An armband pouch is an important accessory to own, especially if you have no pockets.
  8. Get enough sleep the night before, and make sure your body is in the proper condition.

I never realized that running could be so much fun. Joining a race is also a great motivator for training regularly.  I’m really looking forward to the next run soon! I’ll definitely be more prepared when that comes.

I just got home from watching World War Z (do I need to warn you about spoilers? Because there will be some in the next few paragraphs).

For those who have read the book, let me tell you that the film is nothing at all like it. The only similarity they have is that there is that there is a zombie apocalypse. It only focused on a select number of countries– the United States, South Korea, North Korea, Israel, India, and Wales. The protagonist isn’t even in the original story. Almost all of the places and characters that were introduced in each chapter of the book were ignored. To be honest, the name “Brad Pitt War Z” would have been a more fitting name for this movie.

For those who haven’t read the book yet, don’t worry. Just go ahead and enjoy the movie. It’s peppered with a good amount of suspense. My brother got kicked by the girl sitting next to him multiple times (kicking seemed to have been a reflexive reaction to each zombie attack on her part), and I admit to swearing and punching my leg out of surprise.

There is a scene set in Jerusalem where the quaranteed people seemed to be celebrating and chanting praises loudly within the walls around the city. Unsurprisingly, as the noise grows louder, the zombies begin to rise up and climb the walls like a horde of demons being summoned. Eventually they overrun the entire place and people start dying left and right.

That particular scene really made an impression on my mind. What is World War Z trying to say about Israel and religion?

Geometry

The point is one of the the most basic concepts in geometry. It takes up a defined position on a plane surface. To get anywhere, whether it’s a graph, a city, a goal, or in life, you must go from one point to another point.

Say you’re sitting down in your room as I am sitting now. Think of a place that you want to go to (a tangible one, please. We’re not ready to deal with concepts like heaven or happiness yet).

For example, imagine you have to meet a friend at a cafe located 5 blocks away, and you have to be there in 15 minutes. Drawing a straight line between you and that cafe is the fastest and shortest distance that you could travel. Assuming that taking that straight line could get you to the cafe in 5 minutes, you’ll still have 10 minutes to spare. Hooray for you!

This is a map that has  absolutely nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

This is a map that has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, reality is not like that at all. Most of the time, we don’t have that option to take the straight line. This is what could happen in reality:

You set out to walk to the cafe. You don’t take the straight line because there are walls and buildings in the way. You have to go around an entire block because there is some construction going on where, for some reason, pedestrians aren’t allowed to pass by. Halfway through, you realize you forgot your wallet at home, so you rush back to get it. You get your wallet. You break into a weird, half-walk, half-run, forgetting about traffic regulations because you were in such a hurry. A policeman catches and fines you for jaywalking. You arrive at the cafe 15 minutes late.

Yup, that my friends, is life. There are so many twists and turns and circles everywhere, it’s almost like straight lines don’t exist (and if they do, they’re blurry). It doesn’t seem so comforting when you think about it, but that’s what makes life interesting.

You never know what to expect when you turn around a corner, and that’s fine. The next point you need to reach may not be so clear, and the path may be obscured by smoke and fog, and that’s fine too. I believe the smog and dust will settle, and as you progress, you will learn to fan out the fog.

From here on I’m going to keep this in mind: there is little adventure in taking perfect, straight lines. Deviations from the straight line open you up to experiences you would never have encountered; they help you discover new things, new people, and most importantly, yourself. Just as Ellie from the movie “Up” would say, “adventure is out there!”

Remember when I said that I would write a post for this blog every day for 30 days? Let’s see how I fared.

From May 23 to June 23, I have written a grand total of… 13 posts!

Hooray! That is 43% of my target number of posts. I totally failed the 30-day challenge. I didn’t even reach half of the goal (but at least 13 rhymes with 30), Still, I do blog regularly now. Sort of.

Today I:

  1. Overslept and don’t regret it
  2. Bought new shoes
  3. Found new friends
  4. Found old friends
  5. Saw the great-grandson of the Aikido founder in person
  6. May have accidentally hurt someone’s feelings (I am really, really sorry)
  7. Walked in the rain
  8. Watched a procession
  9. Shared my pew with a little kitten at church
  10. Saw the biggest moon of the year

Good night!

A few months have passed and I am walking along the same dusty path again. This time, it’s to accompany my brother’s best friend to his grave.

The mango trees are as grand as they were last time, still bearing fruit.

The sky is all white now. I can’t distinguish the clouds from the sky.

We pass through the maze of tombstones. The ground is still damp from the recent rain. I hear my brother weeping softly beside me, so I begin to cry too. I can’t stop my tears.

I always thought they would both stay friends until they reached senility.

My heart is heavy. It feels like an anchor, dragging me, slowing me down.

My mind is still in the church, replaying the eulogies. I’m touched by all the stories people have told. My heart is breaking for his own brother, who stood at the pedestal with his head in his hands, at a loss for words. I couldn’t bear it when he broke down crying. Everyone else did too.

My mind is still in the funeral home, where his mother held a framed photo of his in her hands, posing for a photo with the family. He should have been there, standing with them.

They lay him down beside his father inside a small mausoleum. When they seal his tomb, we say our goodbyes. We walk away, we part ways with wet eyelashes. He’s gone.

Recent developments in my work and personal life have turned the past few days into a crazy carnival ride. Things went up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, just like the Konami Code.

Of course, there’s always something to be gained from all kinds of madness, so here are the things I learned throughout the entire course. Let’s start with the heavy stuff and move towards the lighter ones later on. Allow me to elaborate:

  1. Mortality is always just around the corner. You don’t know when it will be your turn to go, so make the most out of every day. Think about it. When you leave this earth, who and what are you leaving behind?
  2. Life will go on without you (this is depressing. Sorry).
  3. In relation to number 2: more often than not, you are just a little cog in a machine called The Corporation. When you disappear, the machine might stall, but they will find other cogs to replace you. It may not run the same without you, but it will still run. As Chuck Palahniuk would say, “you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.” No one is indispensable.
  4. Good is innate in all of us, and most people don’t realize that. Not everyone has an ulterior motive. They just have a very strong sense of social responsibility. It may feel like Good Samaritans are a dying breed, but they still exist. Our own desire for self-preservation prevents us from recognizing these people. 
  5. The Filipino society now is more accepting of homosexuality. Proof of this is the new TV show called My Husband’s Lover and the growing number of books under LGTB literature. Unfortunately, close-mindedness towards gender preference is still around and it’s a shame. Take for instance, Charice Pempengco’s outing. They say she shouldn’t have done it and it ruined her career, and it is obvious that they think being homosexual is something to be ashamed of. It’s surprising how openly negative these people are about homosexuality. She chose a difficult path and I admire her for it.
  6. Fear is a deterrent. It will paralyze you if you let it become bigger than yourself.
  7. Always make sure everything is in its proper place before you jump in. Keep details in mind because they are important. Forget the details, and you risk getting yourself into weird and inconvenient situations (such as finding yourself sitting inside a truck, stuck in traffic with an angry driver and your senior riding at the back).
  8. When you’re in the Philippines, never ever schedule a press conference or a meeting that coincides with the NBA Finals. Then we’ll all be happy.

Signing off now. Here’s to another day.

Coming back from a funeral home during heavy rain

Has caused so much cold to seep into my bones

Some of it is resting on top of my shoulders.

Sadness washes over me like waterfalls.

I feel lethargic

I can’t get enough warmth back inside my body.

Last night, I went to the wake of my brother’s best friend.

He died at 23 due to pancreatitis.  Most of you know it as “bangungot.”  I couldn’t believe it.  The news was unreal.

I’m sad beyond words.

He and my brother have been friends since kindergarten. He’s really close to our family and was like a second son to my mom and dad.  Only 23.  23 is too young to die.

Death has always been so sneaky.  He comes into your home when you least expect him, undetected.  He steals lives right from under your nose, snatching people away while they’re sleeping.

The only scary thing about going to a wake

Is seeing the person

Under the glass

Because it makes his death a reality.

 

It cements the fact that he will never open his eyes again

Reinforcing the truth that he is permanently, hopelessly gone.