Lim: The race

Lim: The race

It was my first 21K race. And truth be told, it was a leap of faith. When I registered, I hadn’t ever run that far. I didn’t know if my legs and lungs were up for it. But I told myself, if not now, when?

And yet, every time I’d drive past the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), I’d look up and wonder if it was madness to sign up. I’d stare in awe at the elevation and wonder how I could actually do it.

And while it all started out rather stressfully, the late start and the series of unfortunate events that followed, somehow, gave me a steroid shot of sense and sensibility.

The bad beginning, I thought, had already ruined the race for me. I resolved to simply finish it. A new personal best was out of the question.

The congestion on the race route vexed me but not as much as if I were going for loftier goals. So, while the logistical setbacks were frustrating, they lost the power to kill me. And what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

I was apprehensive about the forecast of rain but the rain turned out to be a blessing. I ran two hours in the rain and I wouldn’t have traded it for heat and humidity.

I had promised that I would stop if I was tired. I kept the promise. Well, I amended it a bit. I didn’t stop. I slowed down. Close enough.

I had told everyone (for their peace of mind) that my goal was simply to finish the race within the official four-hour cut-off. Deep down, I wanted to make it in three hours. I knew I could do it.

But I had never done it on the road or over CCLEX. With rain, headwind and elevation that I didn’t train for, I wasn’t sure I could do it without compromising my heart and my one and two-thirds kidneys.

But if I couldn’t do it, I knew I had to stay alive — so I could try again.

Unofficially, I finished the race in three hours and 20 seconds. Close enough.

I finished the race — alive, healthy and without injury. And approximately one hour ahead of the official cut-off time. Despite the stress. The anxiety. The confusion. The holiday overeating. The undertraining. The over carb-loading. The age and inexperience.

More than enough reasons to be giddy and grateful.

I felt good not close to dying (as in the last race) when I crossed the finish line. This was a good race — challenging, epic, fun. And nothing short of a miracle.

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I could learn to race and chill at the same time. I never thought I could find joy in not being first or best. I never thought I could find the humility to accept my limits and still find the courage not to be deterred by them.

I never thought I could still see the light — this late in life.

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined becoming this old and this bold. Finding the temerity to run a 21K race over the CCLEX is nothing close to anything I ever imagined myself doing at this point in my life.


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