Misyel’s musings on running

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

“THE Miracle isn’t that I finished; the miracle is that I had the courage to start” -- (John Bingham)

Her courage to start running started three years ago. Health reasons dared her to try the exercise. Such boldness to wake up early and trod the one-kilometer sprint stretched to three, then to five, and to 10 kilometers. After her first 10-kilometer run done, the passion never stopped. She continued her journey of running, joined worthy causes of fun runs. And dream big of a longer run. The dream of hurdling and finishing a half-marathon or 21-kilometer lope started.

Thus, when she and three other runner-friends learned of the 18th Angkorwat Half Marathon at Siem Reap, Cambodia, Michelle “Misyel” Uy-Gerona did not bat an eyelash in joining. It’s her second international run and her 16th official half marathon record mark. Her experience in finishing the Hong Kong Standard Charter Half Marathon last February had brought her lots of joys. In her musings, how much more exploring the ancient site of the Angkor Wat Temples?

So when that fateful December 1, 2013 came, Misyel again returned to one of her sources of joy: running. As she explored the nooks and ways of the temples of the ninth century, she could not help but reflect on God’s goodness for giving her the chance to run through such wonderful heritage site. Considered one of the wonders of the world and a Unesco world heritage site, Angkor War is a site to behold. And as Misyel ran through her 21-kilometer through the trees, the lake, temples, she cannot help but reflect on her journey through life.

Her recollections kept her going. As she pondered on how she lost her brother Michael after she graduated from college, and after four years, also lost her Dad Oscar, she thought how she and her family persevered. Three kilometers down. When she started her catering business, she also had thought of so many obstacles and stresses which came her way. Yet, she persisted. Five kilometers done. After she married Dr. Ricky Gerona and got pregnant with her two lovely girls, Therese Michelle (now 10) and Beatriz Marie (now 9), she was put to bed rest for her two pregnancies were in danger. Such circumstances got her going to her 10-kilometer run, but Misyel’s faith was put to the test. Still, noticing that her running pace and breathing were so stable, Misyel pressed on. And with her pensive mood, she recalled the writings of St. Paul in Philippians 3:14 “...I press on toward the goal…” With such, Misyel’s conviction to finish the course held on.

But when she reached the 16-kilometer mark, cramps started to settle on her legs. Yet, she called to mind that she’s just five kilometers away from the finish line. She focused on her dream of finishing the race, not giving up and giving all her strength and dreams to Him. With these sources of inspiration, Misyel pondered that “God wants us to sprint not just a few meters more, but until we cross the finish line of life because it’s going to be worth it all.”

This attitude makes Misyel a winner always. Her crossing the finish line made her cry in happiness. Really true that everyone who finishes the race is a winner.

Every long-distance run gives out a finisher’s medal. Such is the reward and a souvenir for every runner. However, at the Angkorwat run, God humbled Misyel. There were more runners than the medals which the organizers prepared. So she finished not getting one. Yet, after she shared this story to one Cambodian runner, the guy took off his medal and gave it to her. The kindness of the man who shared his prize really amazed our Bacoleña runner. That was so kind of him. And to add more reward to determination and perseverance in finishing the race, Misyel got an e-mail from the organizers congratulating and promising her to send her a medal. Indeed, God’s perfect reward in His perfect time.

Running has allowed Misyel to see how truly blessed her life is. As she welcomes the solemnity of the coming of the Savior, she sees how her life is a great gift from God.

With her gift, Misyel will keep on running. The finish line beckons her to keep on focusing on her goal and someday claim “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim.4:7).”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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