Mike T. Limpag

Fair Play

I JOINED the running craze about a year ago.

It was upon the invitation of John Pages, who, with the rest of the Cebu Executive Runners Club, organized the annual Sinulog run at the IT Park.

I joined the 5K and my first run ended in 37 minutes and 25 seconds.

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I had no practice runs and didn’t even warm up.

I just ran.

I remember thinking, in the middle of that run, that after a year of joining these events, I’d probably make it under 25 minutes.

I also told myself, I’d practice for a week before joining my next run.

That I’d tackle the whole route with nary a stop.

I also had visions of a podium finish.

My runner’s high, I guess, turned out to be a hallucination.

I was still standing when I finished my first 5K and I was very proud of that.

But a day later, I couldn’t even bend to lace my shoes.

Nor could I climb a flight of stairs without feeling any pain.

Laughing was a pain in the ass.

For a few weeks, I ached. A lot.

I never suffered like this while playing football, or jogging for hours back then.

But it was a way for my body to tell me.

“You idiot, you’re not a footballer anymore.”

I promised myself, I’d practice for a week before tackling a run, again.

It took me around seven more months before I joined my next 5K.

It was the Press Freedom run and the running virus had bitten a lot of media practicioners.

I finished at around 40 minutes, and never felt any pain.

Fact is, I even bragged, “Pwede pa.”

Like majority of the participants, that road run was the only exercise I had in months.

I told myself, maybe I’d break my 37-minute record if I practice for a week.

A week later, it was the same in my first 6K.

It didn’t hurt at all.

I told myself, maybe I could do better if I practice for a week.

Ditto in another 5K, about two weeks later, and another one, after that.

I was making up for lost time and joined four events in six weeks.

I had visions of a podium finish, again.

I also had visions of doing eight laps in the oval, preparing for a run.

I’d better warm up, I said, and have that practice run before I’d join the Midnight Run.

On Dec. 13, I joined hundreds of others running at night.

I wasn’t doing too badly, I thought.

I was well below the 30-minute mark going into what I thought was the final turn.

But that 5K turned out to be a darn perfect 5K and what I thought was the final turn wasn’t. In the end, I needed about eight minutes more in the final 800 meters. The guy I tried to overtake, fellow Sun.Star Running Club member RHM, overtook me in the final burst.

Still, I didn’t do too badly.

I’ll have that practice run the next time.

I certainly looked every bit a runner during yesterday’s Cebu City Marathon but I wasn’t one.

I didn’t run. I reckoned I’d be too busy chasing runners after the event to be chasing runners.

I told myself, there’s always a next time.

After that practice run, of course.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)